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'Pakistani Women's Perspectives' focus of ASU Project Humanites lecture

Pakistani Women's Perspectives
March 25, 2015

ASU Project Humanities is partnering with the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict to host "Beyond the Hijab: Pakistani Women’s Perspectives" at 6 p.m., March 26 at Arizona State University’s Tempe campus, West Hall, room 135.

A second installation in the Project Humanities "Dispelling the Myths" series, the dialogue will bring to light conceptions and misconceptions about Pakistani peoples and cultures through five distinct voices who demonstrate both commonalities and contrasting experiences, revealing a multi-dimensionality of an often misunderstood society.

Streaming video of the program will be available at

As visiting fellows at ASU this semester, Tehreem Arsian Aurakzai, Zahra Hamdani, Kanza Javed, Mahwish Khan and Aisha Usman will share their introduction to American culture and focus on dispelling some of the preconceived notions of Pakistani women. The five panelists are at ASU as part of a faculty exchange project between ASU and Kinnaird College for Women that is funded by the U.S. Department of State. Two other Kinnaird faculty members visited ASU in fall 2014.

Perceptions of both America and Pakistan stem from media, Hollywood and unawareness, particularly on how middle eastern women are portrayed through these mediums.

“Media tends to focus on extreme cases where women are the victims of extreme violence,” said Carolyn Forbes, assistant director for the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict and co-moderator for the evening. “This distorts our perception in thinking that violence happens to all women in Pakistan instead of realizing that everyday life in Pakistan is like everyday life in most places.”

Neal A. Lester, Foundation Professor of English and director of Project Humanities, will also help moderate the discussion.

“Having these faculty members here to share some of their experiences will be a wonderful opportunity for all attendees to recognize that even in acknowledging cultural differences, we all have a profoundly common humanity,” said Lester.

Both Lester and Forbes, along with professors Deborah Clark, Claudia Sadowski-Smith and Yasmine Saikia, are part of the three-year partnership funded by the U.S. Embassy.

To reserve your seat, register at Watch footage from Project Humanities’ visit to Pakistan at