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Siren Song:

Understanding Pakistan Through its Women Singers

Oxford University Press, February 2019

"Fawzia Afzal-Khan’s book is an important and timely feminist intervention in the study of classical music and a cogent challenge to the prevailing anti-secular orthodoxy in the academy. In this complex and sensitive study…of the careers of artistes like Malka Pukhraj, Roshanara Begum, Reshma, and of the newer music and musical space offered by Coke Studio, Afzal-Khan shows us the multiple ways in which women performers negotiated and continue to negotiate their way through the numerous challenges thrown their way in the wake of the partitioning of the subcontinent and the multiple demands placed on them."

– Janaki Bakhle, Associate Professor, Department of History, UC Berkeley

"This book joins a small number of excellent cultural and critical studies of the performance arts in South Asia by looking closely at some of the great women singers of Pakistan…  It should be read by all scholars working at the intersections of critical feminist studies, music and performance studies, and postcolonial studies." 

– Arjun Appadurai, Professor, NYU Steinhardt School of Culture


"Fawzia Afzal-Khan’s book provides an opening into an important area of study since Pakistan is rich in creative articulations by women…. Her passionate engagement calls to the reader to look inward through song, avoiding clichés about oppressed Muslim women." 

– Nighat Said Khan, Director of Applied Socio-Economic Research Center (ASR) & the Institute of Women’s Studies, Lahore


Select Reviews & Ancillary Publications/Conversations:

Review by Feriyal Amal Aslam, The Drama Review

Review by Areej Jawad and Namra Najam, Asiatic

Review by Shoba Sharad Rajgopal, South Asian Review

Review by Shreerekha Pillai Subramanian, Feminist Media Studies

Review by Naila Sahar, The Aleph Review 

Review by Taimur Rehman, Journal of International Women's Studies

Review by Nyla Ali Khan, Daily Times

Review by Qaisar Abbas, The Friday Times

Review by Mahnoor Fatima, Youlin Magazine

Podcast Interview with Alka Kurian

Conversation about Siren Song between Fawzia Afzal-Khan, Dr Amina Yaqin,  Dr Taimur Rehman, Dr Naila Sahar, and Raza Rumi, Naya Daur TV 

Siren Song: Understanding Pakistan Through its Women Singers is available here

Review by Dr. Shazia Malik, Greater Kashmir, & Kashmir Lit

Review by Faiza Farid, The Friday Times

Video of book lauch at Karachi Literary Festival



Select Reviews & Ancillary Publications:

Cluster on Lahore, with Love

“My place is now also a place where I manipulate my Muslim womanhood to make my way up the U.S. academic ladder, reporting to increased acclaim the dire situation of Muslim women of Pakistan. My place is now a paradox of no-place, my home is now abroad, I have become exotic to myself, a stranger to my own (s)kin.”


A Journal of Pakistan Studies

PDF available here

Subverting Patriarchy Through Écriture Feminine in Fawzia Afzal-Khan's Lahore with Love: Growing Up with Girlfriends, Pakistani-style 

Article by Shirin Zubair & Rija Ahsan, published in Pakistan Journal of Women’s Studies: Alam-e-Niswan

PDF available here

Lahore Love!

Review of Lahore With Love: Growing Up with Girlfriends Pakistani Style 

by Mandy Van Deven

Chay Magazine

Read review published in The Nation here

Lahore with Love: Growing Up with Girlfriends, Pakistani-style is available here

MLA Convention, 2014 



Research Paper by Maryam Raza, Pakistaniaat 

Lahore with Love:

Growing Up with Girlfriends, Pakistani-style

Syracuse University Press, Spring 2010

Rep. Insanity Ink Publications, January 2011

"Fawzia Afzal-Khan's memoir of childhood in Pakistan weaves together memory and desire to create a tale that is marvelously compelling and endlessly entertaining, at once poignantly personal and richly political."

– Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Harvard University

"She is a gifted dissident voice and I hope many people will read her beautiful memoir which challenges stereotypes, universal fanatic fundamentalism and religious, political, and sexual taboos."

– Nawal El Saadawi, author of Woman at Point Zero"



Shattering the Stereotypes:

Muslim Women Speak Out


Interlink Books, Spring 2005

"This is an important book because it helps the reader understand how the term 'Islam' is being bandied about to cover up, rather than to reveal, the truth of the global injustices that have created a culture of violence on this precious earth. I salute these women for their courage!" 

– From the foreword by Nawal el-Saadawi

Shattering the Stereotypes: An Interview with Fawzia Afzal-Khan

By Nilanshu Kumar Agarwal


A Journal of Pakistan Studies

PDF available here

Select Reviews: 

Maria Golia, “Variants of Abuse,” Times Literary Supplement, February 11, 2007

Sally Bland, “Replacing Misconceptions with Life-Saving Knowledge,” Jordan Times, Fall 2005

Zohreh Ghavamshahedi, Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies, Volume 2, Number 3, Pages 112 – 113, Fall 2006 

Shattering the Stereotypes: Muslim Women Speak Out is available here


A Critical Stage:

The Role of Secular Alternative Theatre in Pakistan

Seagull Press, India, Spring 2005

"Fawzia Afzal Khan sets out to map the development of alternative theatre, an aspect of creative articulation that has so far been ignored by those aiming to study the social and cultural history of Pakistan."

– From Furrukh Khan's review of A Critical Stage: The Role of Secular Alternative Theatre in Pakistan, published in the Feminist Review

Review available to read here

Select Additional Reviews: 


Girish Karnad, The Book Review, New Delhi, May 2006

Aparna Dharwadker, Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, Volume 26, 2006 

Rashid Ali, “Praxis of Performance,” Biblio, May - June 2005





The Pre-Occupation of Postcolonial Studies

Co-editor with Kalpana Seshadri-Crooks

Duke University Press, Fall 2000

“A timely intervention in the debates surrounding the contribution made by postcolonial theory and the status of the discipline indicated by the term ‘postcolonial.’ This anthology enables a broadening and deepening of the field.”

— Sangeeta Ray, author of En-Gendering India: Woman and Nation in Colonial and Postcolonial Narratives

“A diverse collection that effectively constitutes a reader for contemporary postcolonial studies . . . .”

— Fred W. Burnett , Religious Studies Review


"[A] welcome intervention providing significant vignettes on the historical trajectory of the field as well as its contemporary concerns. . . . It will serve as a comprehensive reader for entrants to the field, without disappointing experts whose urge for nuanced analysis and detailed argumentation will also be amply satisfied."

— Manish Kumar Thankur , Anthropology Review Database

Select Additional Reviews:

Huda Seif, Cross-Cultural Poetics, Number 8, May 2001


Doug Payne, College Literature, Vol. 29, No. 3, Summer, 2002, pp. 159-169  

The Pre-Occupation of Postcolonial Studies is available here

cultural imperialism.jpg

Cultural Imperialism and the Indo-English Novel

Pennsylvania State University Press, Fall 1993

"Fawzia Afzal-Khan's excellent book could stand as a reply to those hostile critics who today attack 'multiculturalism' for reductively politicizing literature. In her trenchant discussion, Afzal-Khan shows just how complex the politics of 'liberation' can be for colonial and postcolonial novelists."

Gerald Graff, University of Chicago

"Afzal-Khan's study is a major new contribution to the related fields of Indian writing in English and post-colonial literatures. Focused primarily on four Indian novelists, its arguments and conclusions are of vital importance to our understanding of the many new literatures from the former British colonies. Through her judicious use of the theoretical constructs of Frantz Fanon, Fredric Jameson, Edward Said, and others,

Afzal-Khan has produced a fresh and compelling interpretation of the Indian-English novel."

–Amritjit Singh, Rhode Island College

Cultural Imperialism and the Indo-English Novel is available here


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