Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


Postcolonial racialisation: on the possibilities and limitations of a concept

14 March 2024, 5:00 pm–7:00 pm

Why are people disappearing in Balochistan

The UCL Sarah Parker Remond Centre for the Study of Racism and Racialisation is delighted to welcome Dr Mahvish Ahmad (LSE, Sociology)

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to

All | UCL staff | UCL students




Sarah Parker Remond Centre


IAS Common Ground
G11, Ground Floor, South Wing
UCL, Gower Street, London
United Kingdom

Racialisation has recently been extended to make sense of violent hierarchical relations in the postcolony. Yet, in the postcolony, social difference goes by other names, and majoritarian formations are neither white nor European, carrying instead their own experiences and memories of racism, colonisation, and imperial intervention. This paper explores the possibilities and limits of stretching racialisation away from transatlantic conquest and slavery, and out of North America and Europe, through a case study of enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, and army operations of Pakistan’s Baloch communities. On the one hand, bringing the analytic of racialisation to this postcolony in South Asia challenges methodologically nationalist and presentist interpretations of violence as reflective of internal centre-periphery disputes and localised ethnic conflict. On the other hand, racialisation as a lens can also obscure other, more grounded vocabularies that describe social difference and hierarchy, like zaat (caste), qom (nation), and qabila (tribe). The paper, a work-in-progress, builds on over a decade of ethnographic and archival work with and on Baloch movements against enforced disappearances and military violence in Pakistan.

All are welcome to attend - registration is not required.

About the Speaker

Dr Mahvish Ahmad

Assistant Professor in Human Rights and Politics at Department of Sociology, LSE

More about Dr Mahvish Ahmad