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Mahvish Ahmad


Alongside her doctoral degree, Mahvish Ahmad is an independent journalist and activist. In 2012, she co-founded Tanqeed | a magazine of politics and culture with Madiha Tahir (Columbia). Prior to joining Cambridge, she reported for CS Monitor (US), BBC/PRI The World, Danish Broadcasting Corporation (Denmark), TV2 (Denmark), The Independent, Dawn (Pakistan), The Herald (Pakistan), Caravan (India), CBC (Canada) and others.

Mavish also taught at the Lahore University of Mangement Sciences (Pakistan) and Quaid-e-Azam University (Pakistan). Earlier she worked in consulting, international development, and the non-profit sector in Copenhagen, New York, Washington DC, London, and Islamabad.

Research Interests

Why do people organize collectively to challenge state power? Mavish is interested in the formation of oppositional and resistant political subjectivities in territories where the risk of partaking in collective political action are high. She is exploring this question through a particular case of ethno-nationalist movements in Pakistan's border areas, most of which have been left-leaning through much of their existence. Rather than focus on the emergence of this subjectivity either from the top-down – through the trickling down of political ideas from elite critical-left nationalists – or from the bottom-up – through some idealized notion of an essential rebellious tribal subject – Mavish hopes to uncover how both the ‘top’ and the ‘bottom’ have interacted to forge and 'direct' a particular brand of oppositional politics.


Key Publications

Ahmad, M. (2011). Balochistan Betrayed. In V. Prashad, M. Tahir, & Q. B. Memon, Dispatches from Pakistan. Delhi: LeftWord Press.

Caron, J. & Ahmad, M. (2015): Activism, knowledge and publishing: some views from Pakistan and Afghanistan, South Asian History and Culture.


Grants and Projects

Cambridge Commonwealth, European & International Trust, Cambridge European Scholarship, 2014-2017, University and College Fees. 

Department of Sociology, Graduate Education Committee Funding, 2014-2017, Maintenance.

PhD Supervisor

Dr Manali Desai

  • Position: Research Assistant
  • Address: Department of Sociology, Free School Lane, Cambridge CB2 3RQ