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The Struggle for Pakistan

Seminar Center for Global Humanities Lecture/Seminar Series

Ayesha Jalal

Ayesha Jalal

Mary Richardson Professor of History, Tufts University

Established as a homeland for India’s Muslims in 1947, Pakistan has had a tumultuous history in the vortex of global politics during the Cold War and its enduring aftermath. Located at the crossroads of geography and history, the future of Pakistan is of critical importance to international peace and security. Combining riveting narrative with incisive analysis, Ayesha Jalal constructs her biography of this Muslim nation from its conception as an idea to the grim realities of its present. She shows how the vexed relationship with the United States of America and regional rivalries with India and Afghanistan have accentuated Pakistan’s domestic dilemmas. Attentive to the global context, Jalal’s highly original insider’s perspective illuminates the democratic struggles of the country’s diverse people against military authoritarianism and religious extremism.

Using hitherto unused sources, The Struggle for Pakistan sheds new light on the rise of military dominance in the 1950s, the breakaway of Bangladesh in 1971, and the populist politics of the 1970s. It offers fresh insights into the intertwining of military dictatorship and state-sponsored Islamization in the decades following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Providing a careful assessment of the threats posed by the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, the book argues that the battle for the soul of Pakistan is by no means over as the US withdraws from Afghanistan. The rich cultural repertoire of the regions of Pakistan supplies resources that aid the forces of federalism and democracy.


Ayesha Jalal is the Mary Richardson Professor of History at Tufts University where she teaches at both the History Department and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. She obtained her BA, majoring in History and Political Science, from Wellesley College, USA, and her doctorate in history from the University of Cambridge. Dr Jalal has been a fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge (1980-84), Leverhulme Fellow at the Centre of South Asian Studies, Cambridge (1984-87), fellow of the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington, DC (1985-86) and Academy Scholar at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies (1988-90). Between 1998-2003 she was a MacArthur Fellow. She has taught at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Tufts University, Columbia University and Harvard University. Her publications include The Sole Spokesman: Jinnah, the Muslim League and the Demand for Pakistan (Cambridge 1985 and 1994); The State of Martial Rule: the Origins of Pakistan's Political Economy of Defence (Cambridge, 1990) and Democracy and Authoritarianism in South Asia: A Comparative and Historical Perspective (Cambridge 1995). Dr Jalal has co-authored Modern South Asia: History, Culture and Political Economy (Routledge 1998) with Sugata Bose which has been published by Oxford University Press in India and by Sang-e-Meel in Pakistan. Her study of Muslim identity in the subcontinent, entitled Self and Sovereignty: The Muslim Individual and the Community of Islam in South Asia since c.1850 appeared in 2000-2001  (London/New York:Routledge, Delhi: Oxford University Press and Lahore:Sang-e-Meel). She has also authored Partisans of Allah: Jihad in South Asia (Cambridge, M.A: Harvard University Press; Lahore: Sang-e-Meel, 2008). She has also edited The Oxford Companion to Pakistani History (Oxford University Press 2012) and co-edited a bilingual Urdu and English volume entitled Manto (Sang-e-Meel Publications 2012). Her Lawrence Stone Lectures given at the Davis Center at Princeton University in April 2011 were published as The Pity of Partition: Manto’s Life, Times and Work Across the India-Pakistan Divide (Princeton University Press, Spring 2013). Dr. Jalal’s most recent book is The Struggle for Pakistan: A Muslim Homeland and Global Politics (Cambridge, M.A: Harvard University Press, 2014).

Assigned Reading

Ayesha Jalal, The Struggle for Pakistan: A Muslim Homeland and Global Politics (Harvard University Press, 2014)


A reception will be held at 5:00 pm at the UNE Art Gallery


Center for Global Humanities


(207) 221-4435

The Struggle for Pakistan Event Poster
6:00 PM
WCHP Lecture Hall in Parker Pavilion

Portland Campus

Free and open to the public