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Fawzia Afzal-Khan Invited to Present Paper at Oxford University

Posted in: English Department, Homepage News and Events, Research

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Professor Fawzia Afzal-Khan is presenting part of her sabbatical research in an invited talk entitled, “Queering the Nation: Christian Contributions to Pakistani Popular Culture” at an upcoming conference at Kellogg College, Oxford University, UK June 15-16, 2023. The international conference, Christianity and Christians in Pakistan, aims to bring together scholars to discuss the Christian community in Pakistan from various angles.

View the conference details and schedule here.

From the Conference:

Convened by:

  • Abraham Akhter Murad, Oxford-Vincent Packford Geoffrey Smart Graduate Scholar, Faculty of History, University of Oxford
  • Yaqoob Khan Bangash, Fulbright Fellow, Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute, Harvard University

Outcome: A major outcome of this conference will be a special issue of a leading journal based on selected papers.

It is claimed that Christianity came to the region of the Punjab (present day Pakistan) in the first century AD with the Apostle Thomas. We know little of this early community, and there is also scant information about Christian traders (mainly Armenian) in the millennium following, but the Mughal interaction with Western Christianity in the sixteenth century is well documented. However, that small community died out within a few decades, and it is only with the annexation of the Punjab by the British in 1849 that Christianity reappears, and in fact creates roots, in the region. By the time of the creation of Pakistan in 1947, Christians were about half a million strong in the Punjab, with smaller communities in other parts of what became Pakistan.

Despite a long presence and not insignificant numbers, the study of Christians in Pakistan has only received little attention. It is largely absent from the broader narrative of Pakistan, has only occasionally been the subject of academic research, and has mostly revolved around activist issues of rights, access, and often times, sheer survival. With 75 years of Pakistan completed it is therefore time to have a long view of the community and its development in the country.