Uzma Zafar

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Virginia, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9938

Approve Date

October 25, 2019

Project Title

Zafar, Uzma (Virginia, U. of) "Queering Pakistan: Khwaja sira Legal Identity and the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act 2018"

UZMA ZAFAR, then a graduate student at University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, was awarded a grant in October 2019 to aid research on “Queering Pakistan: Khwaja Sira Legal Identity and the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act 2018,” supervised by Dr. James Igoe. This project (retitled ‘Violent Legalities: Bureaucratized Rights and Transgender Identity in Pakistan’) follows the emergent meanings of being transgender in narratives of community development, human rights and citizenship in Pakistan. Building on literature in legal anthropology, bioethics and queer citizenship, this dissertation examines interactions articulating transgender identity, which is simultaneously rights-deserving under the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act 2018 as well as ‘haram’ and illegal under Islamic Shari’ah laws and the Criminal Tribes Act 1861. In following interactions around access to legal legitimacy and medical care, this project explicates horizons of liveability — which are imagined at the cusp of invisibilized violence and bureaucratized rights — in a regime of human rights that qualifies the ‘human’ using medicolegal models of the body and its related structures of biological evidence. The project looks at negotiations with narratives of authenticity and an onto-biological performance of identity in its frictive interplay with state imaginaries of truth, biology and legal identity.