Nyla Ali Khan
Adjunct Associate Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies and Visiting Professor of English, University of Oklahoma
1501 NW 149th St.
Edmond, OK 73013
Areas of Expertise & Civic InvolvementsKhan emphasizes the traditional concepts of composition and style as well as recent rhetorical theory, teaching students to appreciate the various social and historical contexts of writing, reading, and language. Her personal history, education, and scholarship have made her sensitive to the diversity of cultural traditions and to the questions and conflicts within them, and she brings this sensitivity to her teaching as well. As a literature teacher, Khan stresses the importance of close reading while also drawing attention to the cultural, social, and historical contexts of literature. Through her writings, she critically observes the sociopolitical discourse in South Asia, particularly Kashmir, through an oblique focus from the margins instead of from an elitist center. Currently, she is involved in the restoration of the State Archives in Kashmir, a project on which she is working in collaboration with senior administrators in Jammu and Kashmir. Her goal is to engage in reflective action as an educator working with diverse cultural and social groups questioning the exclusivity of cultural nationalism, the erosion of cultural syncretism, the ever-increasing dominance of religious fundamentalism, and the irrational resistance to cultural and linguistic differences. She believes that acknowledging our complicity in oppression, reconceptualizing paradigmatic structures, and mobilizing cultural and political coalitions are riddled with conflict but it is the need of the day for us to engage in these processes. In 2015, Khan will act as editor of and contribute an article to a special issue of the Oxford Islamic Studies Online journal focusing on Jammu and Kashmir. She also serves on the Advisory Council of the Oklahoma Commission on the Status of Women.
"Muslim Women and Violent Protest: Kashmir" in Encyclopedia of Women & Islamic Cultures, edited by Suad Joseph (Brill Online, 2014).
Discusses the ways in which Kashmiri women created oppositional and nonessentialist narratives that forged new niches in society through the pathways of multilayered identities and inclusiveness. The multiple narratives of Kashmiri women disrupt the notion of Kashmiri women as voiceless repositories of tradition
The Life of a Kashmiri Woman: Dialectic of Resistance and Accomodation (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).
Provides a feminist biography of Akbar Jehan Abdullah - the author's grandmother - and her role in the modern history of her country.
The Parchment of Kashmir: History, Society, and Polity (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012).
Collects essays from Kashmiri scholars of all disciplines to underline the repercussions of India's anti-democratic strategies, delineate the fundamental structural inequities in the Jammu and Kashmir polity, and analyze the effects of nationalist, militant and religious discourses and praxes. Offers a panorama of key cultural concerns of Jammu and Kashmir today, from the military aspects of the Kashmir conflict to the modern-day revival of indigenous cultural institutions.
Islam, Women, and Violence in Kashmir: Between India and Pakistan (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010).
Examines the seminal spiritual and political role of women in Kashmir, while also highlighting the plight of Kashmir generally as a gnarled bone of contention between India and Pakistan; gives an insider's analysis of the effects of nationalist, militant, and religious discourses and praxes on a gender-based hierarchy.
"Tracing the Insurgency in Kashmir: Between India and Pakistan" The Global Studies Journal 1, no. 3 (2008): 93-98.
Delineates the fundamental structural inequities in the Jammu and Kashmir polity, which are exacerbated by political and military intrusions of the Pakistani administration and the engendering of political resistance.
"The Land of Lalla-Ded: Politicization of Kashmir and Construction of the Kashmiri Woman" Journal of International Women’s Studies 9, no. 1 (2007): 22-41.
Analyzes the recorded poems and paradigmatic sayings of Lalla-Ded, a Sufi mystic, to retrieve the rich details of her life that have been relegated to the background in the documented version of history. Discusses the radical political and socioeconomic changes in the role of Kashmiri women between 1947 and 1989.
"Citizenship in a Transnational Age: Culture and Politics in Amitav Ghosh’s ‘The Shadow Lines’" in Amitav Ghosh’s The Shadow Lines: A Critical Companion, edited by Murari Prasad (Pencraft International, 2007).
Argues that Amitav Ghosh is critical of the putative historical and religious necessity to forge a unified nationalist identity. At the same time, Khan argues that the resurgence of cultural and religious fanaticisms in certain transnational communities negates Ghosh’s utopian view of differences, despite its historical basis.
The Fiction of Nationality in an Era of Transnationalism (Routledge, 2005).
Critiques the nostalgic support of subversive elements by the affluent diaspora from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh by focusing on the representation of South Asian life in the works of four Anglophone writers: V.S. Naipaul, Salman Rushdie, Amitav Ghosh and Anita Desai.
"My Grandmother Died a Sad Woman," Interview with Staff Writers, Tehelka, February 2015.
"A Welcome Change," Gulf Today, October 10, 2013.
Talks and Briefings
"Conversations with Dr. Nyla A. Khan," West Wing Unitarian Church, Norman, OK, February 7, 2015.
"Hope for Peace: A Timely International Panel Discussion on the Cost of Conflict in South Asia," (with Beena Sarwar, Pritpal Singh, and Sunny Sharma), University of Texas, Dallas, and South Asia Democracy Watch, Richardson, TX, November 20, 2014.
"Bridge Builders in the Kashmir Conflict: The Human Dimension and the Role of Civil Society," International Peace and Conflict Resolution Program, the Comparative and Regional Studies Program, the Center for Social Media, the Dialogue Development Group, and the Office of the University Chaplin at American University, October 30, 2012.
"Rethinking State Formation in Kashmir," Institute for Public Knowledge, October 5, 2012.