Pakistaniaat: Faiz Ahmed Faiz Issue Published!

This is to let you all know that the Faiz Ahmed Faiz Special issue of Pakistaniaat has now been published and is available on our website. Two Faizpicyears in the making, this wonderfully comprehensive issue on one of the greatest poets of Pakistan was edited by Dr. Amina Yaqin.

More about Dr. Amina Yaqin, Special Issue Editor

SOAS, University of London
United Kingdom

Amina Yaqin is Senior Lecturer in Postcolonial Studies and Urdu and Chair of the Centre for the Study of Pakistan at SOAS. She has recently co-edited a book on Culture, Diaspora and Modernity in Muslim Writing (Routledge, 2012), and is the co-author (with Peter Morey) of Framing Muslims: stereotyping and representation after 9/11 (Harvard University Press, 2011). She has written numerous articles on themes of gender, sexuality, Urdu poetry, communal politics and South Asian literature in English. She is currently working on her next book Imagining Pakistan: narratives of nation, culture and gender and a collaborative research initiative on Muslims,Trust and Cultural Dialogue.

I would like to extend my thanks to Dr. Yaqin and the contributors in making this one of the best resources on Faiz.

Please visit our website and do take a look at the Table of Contents.



Journey Toward Open Access

I seriously encountered the question of open access knowledge in 2006 while teaching a graduate course. As my course was focused on the postcolonial novel, all students were required to give a country presentation about their assigned novel.

During these presentations some of my students used Wikipedia as one of their sources. At the end of that semester, one of the graduate students, who is also a friend, asked me as to why did I allow the students to use Wikipedia as a scholarly source.

My answer simply was that for me, within the context of the assignment, Wikipedia was a “reliable” source. But I also understood the nature of the question. The question arose form a deeply held, and maybe unacknowledged, prejudice against open knowledge, After all, how could a freely available source, edited by nameless people from around the world be considered a reliable source for scholarly work.What shaped my answer, of course, was also the question of availability of knowledge and a slightly better understanding of Wikipedia’s editing policies. For me, Wikipedia was a useful resource because I knew its value to so many Pakistanis who, having no access to expensive controlled databases, used it for heir research. I also knew that pretty much all Wikipedia articles are monitored and edited by a global web of volunteers and that since it is an openly edited content, as soon as someone adds anything irrelevant to a topic, someone else flags it.Tobe sure, just try adding something irrelevant to a Wikipedia article.

I saw this global and democratic process in practice when someone edited the Wikipedia entry to Pakistaniaat, my open access academic journal. Here is a record of edits:

On April 22, someone flagged the article on the journal as follows:

19:54, 22 April 2012AsadUK200 (talk | contribs)‎ . . (3,286 bytes) (+15)‎ . . (i dont believe this is really a notable journal?)

What this means is that this editor added a publicly visible note questioning the validity of the journal as a worthy Wikipedia article.

But another editor did not agree to this label and removed it under the following justification:

 21:48, 22 April 2012Guillaume2303 (talk | contribs)‎ . . (3,259 bytes) (-43)‎ . . (indexed by MLA: meets WP:NJournals)

Note the timeframe: The objection was raised at 19:54 April 22. But in less than four hours, the responding editor had researched the journal and Wikipedia rules of “notability” and taken the note down because indexing by MLA met the notability requirement for my journal.

This is just one example of how editing collectives on the inetrnet can produce and maintain vast amounts of free content. With these assumptions about open access and communal editing, it was a no brainer for me to launch my first journal as open access. Pakistaniaat: A Journal of Pakistan Studies is now in its fifth year of publication. When I decided to launch the journal, I wanted it to be open access simply because I wanted the people of Pakistan, in whose name the journal is established, to be able to afford it. But the advantages have been well beyond my imagination: not only is our content freely available, but this availability has also given us increased exposure, and people cite our published content more often than articles about Pakistan published in controlled journals.

So far, I must admit, this journey toward open access has been quite a trip. In the next phase of this journey, I hope to make it a point to start publishing most of my scholarly work in open access journals.


CFP: Pakistaniaat: A Journal of Pakistan Studies

Special Issue on The Aesthetics and Limits of Historical Memory: Contemporary Perspectives on Bangladesh

Pakistaniaat: A Journal of Pakistan Studies

Guest Editor: Neilesh Bose, University of North Texas

Under the guest editorship of Dr. Neilesh Bose, Pakistaniaat welcomes submissions for its December 2013 edition with a focus on East Bengal, East Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Given the recent rise of critical reflections on history of the 1971 war in historical literature and film, this special issue aims to interrogate the state of debate regarding historical legacies, the arts and aesthetic representations, and silences and voices within the contemporary age. This special edition builds upon the 2010 issue about the 1971 Indo-Pakistan war by focusing on the contemporary debates about historiography, historical memory, literary criticism, and film. Given the emergence in 2011 of Rubaiyat Hossein’s film Meher Jaan, Sarmila Bose’s Dead Reckoning: Memories of the 1971 Bangladesh War, and Yasmin Saikia’s Women, War, and the Making of Bangladesh: Remembering 1971, the field now includes vigorous debates about memorialization, historic accuracy, nationalism, violence, women’s roles in the conflict, and  the relations between East and West Pakistan in the years leading up to the 1971 war. This new vista of reflection about East Bengal, East Pakistan, and Bangladesh has also entered the larger field of the history and culture of contemporary Pakistan.  The editorial staff welcomes creative writing (poetry and prose), book review essays, scholarly articles featuring new research, and translations about any of these topics.

For submission guidelines and submission, please visit Please contact the guest editor, Dr. Neilesh Bose,, with questions and concerns.

Deadline for submissions is June 1, 2013.

Pakistaniaat is a refereed, multidisciplinary, and open access academic journal offering a forum for scholarly and creative engagement with various aspects of Pakistani history, culture, literature, and politics. Housed in the English Department of the University of North Texas, Pakistaniaat is a sponsored journal of the American Institute of Pakistan Studies. Available online as well as in print, Pakistaniaat publishes three issues per year.

About the Guest Editor:

Dr. Neilesh Bose is currently Assistant Professor of History at the University of North Texas. Research interests include late colonial and post-colonial India and Pakistan, decolonization, cultural and intellectual history, modern Bengal, Islam in South Asia, popular culture, and South Asian diasporas. Recent research concerning these topics has been published in South Asian Popular Culture, South Asia Research, and is forthcoming in Modern Asian Studies. He is guest editing a special edition of South Asian History and Culture regarding South Asian Islam and his forthcoming book about late colonial and early post-colonial Bengal is entitled Recasting the Region: Language, Culture, and Islam in Colonial Bengal.