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SAP Seminar Series, Inner City Kitchens in Karachi: A Microcosm of the Crowded City, by Naila Mahmood

Monday, September 24, 2018 at 12:15pm to 1:30pm

Uris Hall, G08

Kitchens in the inner city of Karachi are invisible, gendered spaces that are emblems of social, spatial and gender inequality. In this presentation, I strive to chronicle the small fragment of life around these spaces, which have complex sociological layers, often missed in statistics.

The presentation consists of photographs, texts and reflective poetry about the city of Karachi, Pakistan; its migratory history and urban citizenship. Although the photographs deal in particular with the inner city kitchens, they are reflective of the larger issues of urban density and ensuing pressures.

A teeming city of 21-24 million people, Karachi is the largest city in Pakistan. It has endured an enormous population growth of 115% from 1998 to 2011. During this period, its population grew from 9.8 million to 21.2 million, transforming it into a major megacity of the world. Many waves of migrations have left different ethnic communities scrambling to find a precarious foothold in the race for space and employment. The pressures on the kitchens, endured mostly by women, stand as symbols of housing injustice - showing the pressing issues of urban density and the affordability crisis.

Naila Mahmood is a Karachi based visual artist and documentary photographer. Her work revolves around the complexities of urban spaces, human rights and research based social projects. Her work has been shown nationally and internationally in USA, India, Dubai, Germany, England and Pakistan. She teaches Communication Design at the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture, Karachi, Pakistan and is the Director of the Vasl Artists Association.

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Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, Asian Studies, South Asia Program, Anthropology




Free Admission

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Contact Name

Valerie Foster Githinji

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Naila Mahmood

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Available upon request

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