Council on Anthropology and Education
Oral Presentation Session
I have always gone back and forth the South and North. My father got a scholarship to get a PhD in Physics a few years after Pakistan was created: Pakistan aligned itself with the capitalist bloc since India went to the socialist side. I spent my early childhood in the US and then we went back home where we lived in relative poverty partially because professors at that time made very little money and partially because my mother fought to put her daughters in the best private school in town. Even during my school I fought against causes. It wasn’t till university that I joined Women’s Action Forum. I experienced gendered violence personally and worked to get justice for others who had too. While I balked at having to go west to get a degree to legitimize my intelligence, I was thrilled when I got a full scholarship to get my MS in the US. I worked my way through Hawai’i, California, and finally in Georgia with a job. At each place I learned from both Third World and US people of color scholars, especially feminists of color, even as I was active in Hawai’ian, Chicana/o, and African American movements. I went back to Pakistan for five years, joined several activist causes, and became a scholar of violence. Now I teach in the US. My paper details my journey and my dilemmas at different points including the present: am I an authentic social justice anthropologist? Can we ever be one?