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Naveeda KHAN

Dept. of Anthropology | Johns Hopkins University
Presentation: "Discordance and the Event of the River"

My research is located at the intersections of the study of material environments, temporality, and the everyday. A focus on urban built forms, their symbolization and everyday use served as the springboard for transitioning from my dissertation and postdoctoral research to my first book, which explores how the Islamic tradition and the aspiration to strive together shape collective projects in Pakistan. My most recent research shifts location and focus to examine rural and riverine environments in Bangladesh as they intersect with multiple possible futures, including the temporalities of everyday life, those of material substances such as riverine flows and silt sedimentation, and the crisis-inflected future of climate change. My further interest is in the technological imagination of material environments of the distant future, particularly its utopian and futurist dimensions, to be studied through desert reclamation projects in the Middle East but this is yet to be researched. In all of these projects, I not only draw upon the methodologies of archival research and textual analysis from the humanities, fieldwork practice from anthropology, but also engage concepts and frameworks from the environmental sciences to produce multidisciplinary work that is attentive to the weave of enduring and emergent questions within the social.


Moon Ribas, artist, wears sensors on her body that vibrate anytime there is an earthquake in the world. She dances as she feels the impulses in her body and as according to their intensity. Given that I am interested in how one feels the movement of the earth within oneself (sort of like the river is an expression of the movement of the earth upon its surface) this effort to express the earth interested me.