Saba Karim Khan

Instructor of Social Science Affiliation: NYU Abu Dhabi
Education: MPhil, University of Oxford, PhD University of Sussex (current)

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 author, award-winning filmmaker, and Instructor in the Social Science division at NYU Abu Dhabi. She has read Social Anthropology at the University of Oxford and is currently pursuing her PhD from the University of Sussex.

Khan’s writing, interviews, and talks have appeared in The Guardian, BBC, The Independent, Khaleej Times, The Emirates Literature Festival, the Lahore Literary Festival, the NYUAD Institute. Wasafiri, Huff Post, Verso, Think Progress, DAWN, The Friday Times, Gulf News, The National, and Express Tribune. Her debut novel, Skyfall, was released by Bloomsbury in December 2020 and her documentary film, Concrete Dreams: Some Roads Lead Home, produced by the Doha Film Institute (DFI), was officially selected and won awards at film festivals in Paris, Berlin, Toronto, USA, Sweden, and India. You can view an extended trailer of the doc-film. 

Khan’s research focuses on the global South and the Gulf, the politics of feminism and sexual harassment, religious radicalism, modern-day slavery, social movements, and South Asian diasporas. Her projects employ qualitative research methods, ethnographic fieldwork, visual anthropology, digital ethnography, and new media technologies.

Currently, Khan is undertaking an ethnographic and interview-based 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, which challenged dynastic party structures and class conflict, by offering a new politics of contention for young people in the country.

Khan is in the post-production phase of a visual anthropology project, titled “Wounded Attachments: Songs of Survivors”, a 4-part mini-series on feminism in the global South, funded by a Researcher-Led Initiative (RLI) grant from the University of Sussex. This series speaks to young college student survivors of harassment from India, Pakistan, and Nepal, in order to unpack the complications of #metoo in South Asia. The series premiers at the Emirates Literature Festival in Dubai in February 2022.

Before joining the Academy, Khan worked as Country Marketing and Public Affairs Head at Citigroup. Born in Karachi, she now lives in Abu Dhabi with her husband and two daughters