Focusing on everyday urbanisms, this workshop is an attempt to think through urban questions from a variety of perspectives and in particular with the help of two theoretical lens. One is the concept of ‘urban charisma’ put forward by Thomas Blom Hansen and Oskar Verkaaik (2009) to describe the creative energy that exists within the city and amongst its inhabitants.

They focus on how ‘urban specialists’ tap into this charisma to provide services, connectivity, and knowledge to urban inhabitants. The other theoretical approach is presented by AbdouMaliq Simone and Edgar Pieterse in New Urban Worlds: Inhabiting Dissonant Times (2017), which focuses on the bottom-up building of cities in the Global South. This people-centred approach reveals the city as a landscape for urban experimentation, which forces us to acknowledge the agency of marginalised sections of the urban population who creatively navigate the city within a constantly shifting set of constraints.

Using the concepts of urban charisma and experimentation as guides, we envision this workshop as a forum for scholars--particularly those engaged in urban ethnography--to rethink everyday urban life in Pakistani cities in innovative ways. We will prioritise research that sheds light on the ways the city itself is shaped from the bottom-up through the everyday negotiations of urban citizens in terms of their spatial and social navigations through the city, their participation in different forms of networks and community, and their creative strategies when dealing with multiple forms of insecurity and constraint.

Professors AbdouMaliq Simone and Thomas Blom Hansen have generously agreed to participate in and guide the discussions at the workshop.


  • Deadline for Application:December 15, 2017
  • Selection of Participants:January 1, 2018
  • Deadline for Paper Draft Submission:March 1, 2018
  • Workshop:March 16 - 17, 2018


Participants in this workshop will be required to pre-circulate a draft research paper to the rest of the participants. All participants will be expected to prepare for the workshop by reading each other’s work along with relevant texts, which will be shared in advance with participants by the organisers. This two-day workshop will include discussion of key texts along with each participant’s work.


We invite academics, graduate students, researchers and others investigating urban life in Pakistan and elsewhere to apply for this workshop by sending an abstract of their proposed paper of no more than 300 words and a short CV by December 15, 2017 to urbanworkshop at LUMS has limited funds to cover domestic travel and accommodation costs of participants. Please specify if you require funding in your workshop application along with an estimate for the cost of travel.


Amen Jaffer and Nida Kirmani