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Thesis Defence: Border Thinking and Local Knowledges Concerning Women’s Empowerment: A Case Study of Baloch Women Activists

May 7 at 9:30 am - 1:30 pm

Hamayoon Khan, supervised by Dr. Thomas Heilke, will defend their thesis titled “Border Thinking and Local Knowledges Concerning Women’s Empowerment: A Case Study of Baloch Women Activists” in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies – Power, Conflict, and Ideas theme.

An abstract for Hamayoon Khan’s thesis is included below.

Defences are open to all members of the campus community as well as the general public. Registration is not required for in-person defences.


This research problematizes the idea of universal forms of understanding socio-political progress and the hegemony of Western knowledge in the post-colonial society of Pakistan. It takes the notions of women’s empowerment as a case study. The study aims to understand the phenomenon of women’s empowerment from the perspective of Baloch women living at the margins of the modern world. The research is a qualitative study that utilizes the grounded theory method to analyze the data collected during fieldwork in Quetta, the capital city of Balochistan, the most marginalized province of Pakistan. In-depth, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 30 Baloch women who were educated and actively engaged in the social and political spheres of Balochistan. The research has two purposes: first, to analyze and acknowledge the hitherto unheeded role of Baloch women in the ongoing nationalist movement in Balochistan; and, second, to bring to the fore the voices at the margins and their perspective about women’s empowerment. This research is not a critique of the liberal secular feminist movement in Pakistan. Rather, it argues for the novel and alternative understandings of women’s empowerment coming from the margins. The research findings tell us that although Baloch women consider Baloch society to be a patriarchal society and advocate for a women’s empowerment movement, they disagree with the ideology, politics, and demands of the dominant liberal secular feminist movement in Pakistan. The research findings also lead us to argue that women’s empowerment is a matter of “lived experience”; thus, it varies according to the social context in which women reside. The perspective of Baloch women about feminism and women’s empowerment proves that the societies at the margins of modern world should not be treated as an object of study; rather, these societies are also loci of knowledge production from within. Finally, the research concludes that in order to build a more tolerant and just world, we need to shift from universal knowledge to pluriversal forms of knowledge, allowing margin dwellers to think freely and appreciate border thinking (not necessarily agreeing with them).


May 7
9:30 am - 1:30 pm


Arts Building (ART)
1147 Research Road
Kelowna, BC V1V 1V7 Canada
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Registration/RSVP Required
Event Type
Thesis Defence
Arts and Humanities, Research and Innovation
Alumni, Community, Faculty, Staff, Families, Partners and Industry, Students, Postdoctoral Fellows and Research Associates