Great Conversations: 3rd i NY presents Two wings Without a Body - Many Pakistans, Warring histories

Wed, September 28, 2011 7:00 pm at Alwan for the Arts

(View all great conversations »)

Free and Open to the Public. Doors open at 6:30pm.

3rd i NY presents
Two wings without a body: Many Pakistans, Warring histories
Saadia Toor in conversation with Naeem Mohaiemen

Saadia Toor talks with Naeem Mohaiemen about the many versions of post-1947 Pakistani history, including the unresolved legacies of the 1971 rupture of Pakistan and birth of Bangladesh. This event marks the New York launch of Saadia Toor’s new book: The State of Islam: Culture and Cold War Politics in Pakistan.

While Toor and Mohaiemen are both active members of pan-South Asian activist networks in New York and have overlapping areas of research, they present their research in different spaces: Toor in the academy and Mohaiemen in the museum. Their discussion will focus on the history of nation-state projects from the Pakistan and Bangladesh context– especially through the prism of the personal and political within post-1947 border demarcation, ideology invention and left movements.

Saadia Toor is Associate Professor of Sociology at the College of Staten Island, City University of New York. A native of Lahore, she has a twenty-year history of activism among feminist and left circles in Pakistan. Her new book, The State of Islam: Culture and Cold War Politics in Pakistan, comes out of this personal history, and is inflected by her interest in exploring the relationship between culture and power. Born in 1971, the year of the separation of East Pakistan and birth of Bangladesh, Toor grew up in a truncated Pakistan defined by a historical amnesia regarding its shared past with Bangladesh, and a categorical refusal to acknowledge the brutal state violence visited upon ordinary people during the genocide of 1971.

Naeem Mohaiemen uses essays, photography, and film to explore histories of the international left and failed utopias. Chapters from his ongoing project on the 1970s ultra-left, “The Young Man Was”, were shown at Frieze Art Fair (London), Sharjah Biennial (UAE), MUAC (Mexico City), Finnish Museum of Photography, etc. Other museum projects include “Kazi in Nomansland” (part of Lines of Control), which looks at three country’s claim to poet Nazrul Islam. Publications include Chittagong Hill Tracts in the Blind Spot of Bangladesh Nationalism (Drishtipat), “Flying Blind: Waiting for a real reckoning on 1971” (Economic & Political Weekly), and "Islamic Roots of HipHop" (Sound Unbound, MIT Press). Excerpts from his work featured in Granta (Pakistan Issue) and Rethinking Marxism.

About the Book

The State of Islam: Culture and Cold War Politics in Pakistan (Pluto Press), by Saadia Toor, tells the story of Pakistan through the lens of the Cold War, and more recently the War on Terror, to shed light on the domestic and international processes behind the global rise of militant Islam.

Unlike existing scholarship on nationalism, Islam, and the state in Pakistan, which tends to privilege events in a narrowly-defined ‘political’ realm, Saadia Toor highlights the significance of cultural politics in Pakistan from its 1947 origins to the contemporary period. This dimension allows Toor to explain how the struggle between Marxists and liberal nationalists was influenced and eventually engulfed by the agenda of the religious right. Timely and unique, this book is a must for anyone who wants to understand the roots of modern Pakistan and the likely outcome of current power struggles in the country.

Copies of the book will be available for sale.

Great Conversations Series

The Great Conversations series invites thinkers to choose people from other disciplines who are of intellectual and inspirational interest to them in an attempt to enlarge the scope of our understanding of the production of knowledge. The series is meant to offer a paradigm of comparative experiences, where other forms of knowledge can better enrich consciousness of the self.

Great Conversations is made possible in part with public funds from the Manhattan Community Arts Fund, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and administered by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.

About 3rd i NY

3rd I New York’s monthly film/video/media/conversation salon is designed by local filmmakers and cultural producers to showcase the works of independent media makers and intellectuals of South Asian, Central Asian, and Arab descent. Providing alternative forums for these voices, who often have few venues to showcase their work and whose cultures and histories are often demonized or misrepresented in mainstream media, not only increases their visibility, but also provides a social forum for peers and audiences to participate in an ongoing discussion. We are thankful to the SINGH Foundation for acting as our fiscal sponsor.

Last updated: 2011-09-21 14:19:08

Alwan for the Arts

16 Beaver Street, 4th Floor
(between Broad St. and Broadway)
New York, NY 10004
(646) 732-3261

Alwan Auction 2016

Join Our Mailing List:



Classes are currently being scheduled. Please check back soon for updates.



There are currently no upcoming events.


16 Beaver Street
4th Floor
New York, NY 10004
(646) 732 3261
Email Us

Alwan for the Arts is accessible to people with disabilities. Please call 646 732 3261 in advance, or, buzz at the door to arrange a ramp.

© 2020 Alwan for the Arts

Hosting donated by:, the Arabic Encyclopedia