Dr Mahvish Ahmad

Dr Mahvish Ahmad

Assistant Professor in Human Rights and Politics and Co-Director of LSE Human Rights

Department of Sociology

Connect with me

Danish, English, Urdu
Key Expertise
Violence, State, Militarism, Policing, Empire, War, Decolonial Theory

About me

Mahvish Ahmad is an Assistant Professor in Human Rights and Politics. Before joining LSE, she was an A.W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centre for Humanities Research, University of the Western Cape. She completed her PhD in Sociology at Cambridge. Earlier, Mahvish was a journalist covering military and insurgent violence in the Pakistan-Afghanistan region, and co-founded the bilingual Urdu/English magazine Tanqeed with Madiha Tahir.

Mahvish's first project, Sovereign Destruction, studies what states demolish. We know states order social life for the purposes of government; she foregrounds the dismantling of alternative worlds that this ordering entails. She is currently completing a book on state violence in Pakistan’s southern province of Balochistan, and will expand her inquiries to study global militarism next year, with a graduate-level seminar on legalised violence. She is also co-convening Archives of the Disappeared, a research initiative investigating the archiving and documentation of communities destroyed in acts of mass violence (with Mezna Qato, Yael Navaro, and Chana Morgenstern).

Mahvish's second project, Thought Under Siege, centres the thought of grassroots movements in sites of violence. Movements produce analyses, critiques, and alternatives to violent states, for example in underground pamphlets. This project will bring attention to non-canonical movement thought to expand and decolonise social theory. As part of Thought Under Siege, she is initiating a reading group focused on movement texts. She is also co-hosting Revolutionary Papers, a workshop that will investigate 20th century periodicals from the Global South as sites of Left, anti-imperial, and anti-colonial thought(with Chana Morgenstern and Koni Benson). Finally, she is working with Ahmed Saleem at the South Asia Resource and Research Centre in Islamabad; they maintain an archive of Pakistan’s socialist and democratic movements.

Selected Writings

‘Afro-Asian Worldmaking Underground in Balochistan’s Jabbal.’ Itinerario: Journal of Imperial and Global Interactions, Forthcoming 2020.

‘Musāfir.’ Concepts of the Global South, edited by Dilip Menon. Forthcoming in 2020. Oxford University Press.

‘Surveillance, Authoritarianism and “Imperial Effects” in Pakistan.’ Surveillance & Society, 15, 3/4, 2017, pp. 506–513. With Rabia Mehmood

‘Kontroversen om Exitcirklen: Racialisering af muslimske kvinder i den danske mediedebat.’ Debat: Antropologi og medier, Jordens Folk, Dansk Etnografisk Forening, 2019, Vol. 54, Issue 1. With Karen Waltorp.

‘Feminism’s Fragile Army.’ The New Inquiry, 15 May 2017.

‘Activism, knowledge and publishing: some views from Pakistan and Afghanistan.’ South Asian History and Culture, 7, 1, 2016, pp. 30-36. With James Caron

‘Drone Blowback is a Bad Argument. Here’s Why.’ Warscapes, 4 Jun 2016. With Madiha Tahir.

‘Home Front: The Changing Face of Balochistan’s Separatist Insurgency.’ The Caravan: A journal of politics and culture, 1 Jul 2014.