Tariq Rahman

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

California, Irvine, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10024

Approve Date

August 26, 2020

Project Title

Rahman, Tariq (California, Irvine, U. of) "Liquid Land: A Diasporic Market and the Making of Lahore"

TARIQ RAHMAN, then a graduate student at University of California, Irvine, California, received a grant in August 2020 to aid research on “Liquid Land: A Diasporic Market and the Making of Lahore,” supervised by Dr. Sylvia Nam. In the city of Lahore, Pakistan, plots of land are traded like stocks. While land has traditionally been associated with ethical values — such as maintaining extended families, reproducing caste identities, and establishing a Muslim homeland — in recent years it has become liquid, or a good that is quickly bought and sold. Across a transnational real estate market, plots in new housing developments circulate between overseas Pakistanis living across the Middle East, Europe, and North America, and in Lahore’s oldest residential areas the World Bank is digitizing a colonial-era land bureaucracy to increase the frequency of sales. And yet, in the context of financialization, land’s value continues to be ethically grounded. Based on ethnographic fieldwork with real estate developers, diasporic investors, government officials, and local residents, this dissertation project examines the ethical motivations that drive financialization in Lahore and how urban space and life are transforming as land becomes liquid.