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Identity (Geo)Politics: Pakistani Communities and the Nation State System

  • Author(s): Stover, Tamera Lee
  • Advisor(s): Lie, John
  • et al.

My dissertation explores the relationships between states in the age of globalization, and the construction and expression of Pakistani immigrants’ national, ethno-racial, and religious identities at the individual and group levels. It is driven by the question of how we make sense of boundaries and belonging, and I explore the relationship(s) between immigrant communities’ identities and local, state, and global contexts. Concretely, I examine how Pakistani immigrants in the global metropolitan areas of San Francisco, California and Toronto, Ontario construct and participate in various identity communities both within and across borders. I argue that accurate study of global phenomena requires we question the assumptions built into the nation-state system, which overly constrain our analyses and representations of reality. I demonstrate the import of American hegemony, and show how the US and Canada, in their separate and dialectic ways, create visually-identified others. I suggest an analytic framework of the administrative and the affective of the macro and the micro, and apply it to citizenship to comment upon the processes of racial disciplining that structure subjectivities in an increasingly interconnected global society. This dissertation adds to the little discussed question of how race is made across boundaries, shows how states structure subjectivities, and how immigrants’ identity projects are instances of the deterritorialization of the nation-state.

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