University of Rochester

Anthropologist Selected as Visiting Scholar

June 16, 1998

Kamran Asdar Ali, assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Rochester, has been selected as a visiting scholar for the 1998-99 academic year at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J.

While at the institute, Ali will work on a manuscript about how modern governments like Egypt use discourse on health, welfare and family planning as techniques to manage their populations. "Such arguments foster notions of individual choice, responsibility and personal independence and help construct a new kind of individuality that is guided by the legal rights of a citizen rather than by communitarian and familial control," said Ali.

In recent years, Ali has done field work in poor urban and rural areas in Egypt. That research was the subject of his dissertation for a doctorate in anthropology from Johns Hopkins University. He also has a degree in medicine from the University of Karachi in Pakistan.

The Institute for Advanced Study's School of Social Science has accepted about 15 fellows who will pursue research as well as contribute at seminars. Financial support comes from the institute, private donors, foundations and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

During the summer, Ali will travel to the Netherlands to begin work on a labor history of Pakistan. At the International Institute for Asian Studies, Ali will do the groundwork for gathering documentation, particularly as it applies to the labor movement in Karachi, Pakistan's largest city. The institute promotes Asian studies in the humanities and social sciences through national and international alliances.

A native of Pakistan, Ali has taught in the University's Department of Anthropology for three years.