Safoora Arbab


PhD Student
Department: Comparative Literature NA
Email: safoora@ucla.edu


I majored in philosophy for my Bachelors degree which I earned from Columbia University in New York City. I am now a third year PhD student in the department of Comparative Literature, at UCLA, working within the frameworks of postcolonial literatures, critical theory and feminism. My languages are Pashto and Urdu, and my areas of focus are British India in the 19th and 20th centuries, and English literature and colonial representations bearing on that timeframe as well. I am specifically looking at the Pakhtun (or Pashtun) nonviolent movement of the Khudai Khitmatgars led by Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan (also known as the Frontier Gandhi, and as Bacha Khan) of Indian independence from British rule, which, though less well known than Gandhi, occurred at the same time also.  

My theoretical research work is focused on looking at violence and nonviolence and how they are located both within the western philosophical tradition, and within the Pakhtun self-imaginary reflected in its history and literature.

I especially want to examine how definitions of the human and traditions of humanism are implicated in both colonialism and in the present-day violence of the war on terror taking place in the north-west frontier of Pakistan.