Saba Karim Khan

Instructor of Social Science Affiliation: NYU Abu Dhabi
Email: skk4@nyu.edu
Education: MPhil, University of Oxford

Research Areas: Social movements; Politics and Islam in the global south; Transnational feminism; Immigration and identity (South Asia); Modern day slavery; Radicalization (including online); Political violence (South Asia)


Saba Karim Khan is an Instructor in the Social Science division at NYU Abu Dhabi. She received an MPhil from the University of Oxford. She has by-lines in The Guardian, The Independent, Verso, Huff Post, ThinkProgress, DAWN, The Friday Times, Express Tribune and Wasafiri. Saba has recently completed her debut fiction novel, Skyfall, slated for publication by Bloomsbury in January 2021, for which she received a publication grant by NYU Abu Dhabi.

Her research focuses on how social dynamics such as political, social movements, sexual harassment, radicalism, modern-day slavery, and South Asian diasporas are impacted by politicized social structures and social relationships. Her projects employ qualitative research methods, ethnographic fieldwork, visual anthropology, digital ethnography, and new media technologies.

Her current research includes an ethnographic study of social movements in South Asia titled, “The “third way:” reimagining power elites, social movements and silent revolutions in postcolonial Pakistan.” It explores the rise of Imran Khan and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf as a social movement that challenged dynastic politics and became a metaphor of hope for the country.

She is also working on gender inequality in the global South, working with qualitative interview data to explore sexual harassment experiences among urban Pakistani women titled: “Unsilencing Pakistan’s Sexual Assault Survivors: A delayed “coming out.” This project unpacks notions of shame, honor, religion, and masculinity that come into play when understanding harassment and explores how cloning the global #metoo might not produce identical results in the global south. Bolstering this research is a forthcoming 4-part series that unpacks the prickly, knotty mess of #metoo in South Asia, based on a Researcher-Led Initiative (RLI) grant.

Saba is contributing a chapter for the book: Mother's Mothering and Covid-19: Dispatches from a Pandemic, forthcoming by Demeter Press, Canada in March 2021, highlighting the skewed gender impact of the pandemic on South Asian women – at some point, did it become a “patriarchal pandemic”?

Saba also remains interested in employing visual anthropology tools. Forthcoming is a documentary film on how football is producing a movement beyond sports among Pakistan’s street children, titled Concrete Dreams: Some Roads Lead Home, based on a grant by the Doha Film Institute (DFI). View extended trailer of the doc-filmVisit the film's Facebook page.