Shemeem Burney Abbas



Curriculum Vitae


Departments of Political Science, Gender Studies and Literature
State University of New York at Purchase College
735 Anderson Hill Road, Purchase, NY 10577

Telephone: (914) 251-6726; fax (914) 251-6603

E-mail:
Website: http://www.shemeem.com

PROFESSIONAL HISTORY

American Positions

Associate Professor in Political Science, Gender Studies and Literature, State University of New York at Purchase College, 2005 to date.

Visiting Faculty in English and Rhetoric & Composition, Courtesy appointments in Gender Studies, Asian Studies and Middle Eastern Studies, The University of Texas at Austin, 2002-2005.

Instructor in English and Rhetoric & Composition, The University of Texas at Austin, 2000-2002.

Instructor in English and Rhetoric & Composition, The University of Texas at Austin, 1988-1992.

International Positions

Professor, Associate Professor and Assistant Professor of English Language & Applied Linguistics, Allama Iqbal Open University, Islamabad, 1980 to 2003.

Assistant Professor of English, Royal Government of Saudi Arabia, Girls College of Education, Riyadh, 1977-1978.

Assistant Professor of English, Federal Government Women's Colleges, Islamabad, 1969-1978.

EDUCATION

The University of Texas at Austin, PhD, 1992
Foreign Language Education/Applied Linguistics
Dissertation: Speech Play and Verbal Art in The Indo-Pakistan Oral Sufi Tradition

The University of Texas at Austin, M.A., 2002
Creative Writing: Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry

University of London, England: Institute of Education for Developing Countries, Certificate in Distance Education, 1982

The University of Leeds, England, M.A., 1968
English Literature
Thesis: "Aspects of the Grotesque in Selected works of Joseph Conrad"

Panjab University, Pakistan, B.A., M.A. Honors, 1964
English literature (major); Philosophy & Political Science (minors)

HONORS AND GRANTS

Juanita and Joseph Leff Distinguished Senior Faculty Award, 2009-2011

Institute of International Education Fellowship, 2004-2006

James E. Michener Fellowship in Creative Writing, University of Texas at Austin, 2002

Fellowship in Creative Writing, University of Texas at Austin, 2000-2001

American Institute of Pakistan Studies Lecture Series, 1999

Fulbright Travel Grant, 1999

UNICEF Qissa Khwan (Storyteller) project, for school girls, 1994

Pakistan Government Overseas Scholarship for PhD at the University of Texas at Austin, 1985-1990

British Commonwealth Overseas Training Award for University of Leeds, 1966-1968

British Council Training Award for University of London, British Open University, BBC and Sterling University, 1982

Asia Foundation Training and Conference Grant for the National University of Singapore, 1982

Teaching appointment, Royal Government of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh, 1977-1978

LANGUAGES

Fluently speak, read and write: English, Urdu, Punjabi, Siraiki, Hindko, Kohistani and Potohari

Speak: Hindi (fluent); Arabic (1 year)

Read: Persian & Arabic (3 years) French (9 months)

PUBLICATIONS

Books

Pakistan’s Blasphemy Laws: From Islamic Empires to the Taliban. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2013. 200 pages.

The Female Voice in Sufi Ritual: Devotional Practices of Pakistan and India. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2002. 209 pages; also published by Oxford University Press, 2003. 209 pages.

Qissa Khwan (Storyteller). Islamabad: UNICEF (short stories), 1994. 111 pages.

Dissertation

Speech Play and Verbal Art in the Indo-Pakistan Oral Sufi Tradition. Diss. University of Texas at Austin, 1992. Ann Arbor: UMI, 1993. 3523537. 285 typed pages.

Articles in refereed journals/collections

“Blasphemy in Pakistan: An Interview with Shemeem Burney Abbas,” by Ryan Shaffer. The Secular Humanist Bulletin. 31.1 (Spring 2015).

“Risky Knowledge in Risky Times: Political Discourses of Qawwali & Sufiana-kalam in Pakistan Indian Sufism.” Muslim World (Special Issue) 97.4 (October 2007).

Sakineh: The Narrator of Karbala,” in The Women of Karbala: Ritual Performance and Symbolic Discourses in Modern Shi‘i Islam, ed. Kamran Agahie. Austin: University of Texas Press, December, 2005. 141-160. Also in Islam and Society in Pakistan: Anthropological Perspectives, ed. Magnus Marsden, Oxford University Press, 2010. 283-298.

“Perspectives on a Grassroots Theory of Literary Orality & Aesthetics.” Journal of Social Sciences Vol. 2 Allama Iqbal Open University (1997): 1-9.

“The Power of English in Pakistan.” World Englishes 12 2 (1993): 147-156.

“Searching the Darkest Corners: Aspects of the Grotesque in Selected Works of Joseph Conrad.” Journal of Research XVIII 2 Punjab University (1984): 51-62.

“Syllabus Designs in English Language Teaching.” English Language Teaching 1984: Proceedings of an English Language Teaching Conference. Islamabad: University Grants Commission, 1984: 313-318.

“Constraints on Methodology.” English Language Teaching 1983. Proceedings of an ELT Conference. Islamabad: University Grants Commission (1983): 237-244.

“Oriental Image and the Consistency of Pound's Poetry.” Journal of the English Literary Club, Peshawar University (1982-83): 155-162.

“Mark Twain's Uses of the Mask.” Aerial, University of Sind (1981-82): 95-104.

Electronic Interview

“Qawwali Music in India.” An electronic interview with Rhea Nath at FLAME University in Pune, India. 30 November, 2015.

Review

“A Learner’s Introduction to Linguistics.” Review of An Introduction to Linguistics by Tariq Rehman. The News. 18 January 1997: 2.

Magazines

“The Female Voice in Sufi Ritual.” The News 23 March 1995: 28.

Textbook Materials

Textbook materials for Allama Iqbal Open University in Islamabad, 1980-2000. See details below.

Works in Progress

A Memoir of Kashmir: MyStory (Revisiting Operation Gibraltar, 1965). Manuscript under submission.

Wedding-Guest: A Kashmir Fiction. A novel set in Kashmir. 350-400 typed pages.

Translating into English from Urdu, Commando Alamgir’s Operation Gibraltar: Muhaz-e Kashmir (1990). 115 manuscript pages.

The Fitna Collection. Three short stories about Asian-American women. 75 manuscript pages.

Poems from the Indus. 30 manuscript pages.

“Princess Jahanara: Padshah Begum in Mughal India, Sufi mystic and poetess.” 20 manuscript pages.

“Living With Goonda-Mulla: A Dream of the Caliphate.” 20 manuscript pages.

ACADEMIC CONFERENCE PRESENTATIONS

Invited Speaker

“Exposing Identity: Who We Are and Who We Pretend to Be.” Purchase College, State University of New York. Panel Discussion: October 2, 2015.

“Liberal Democracy, Militarization, Gender Apartheid and the Shari’a.” Sarah Lawrence College: Public Lecture: April 23, 2015.

“Blasphemy, Gender and the Shari’a.” Montclair University: Public Lecture,” March 26, 2015. Video.

“The Female Voice in Sufi Ritual: Devotional Practices of Pakistan and India,” Alliance for Pakistan and Urdu Studies at New York University at a conference on “The confluence of Sufi Literature and Music in South Asia,” New York, December 7, 2013.

Keynote Speaker: “Muslim Women Speak: Paradigms from Outside the Western World.” International Conference on Engaging Hearts and Minds at Centennial College, Institute on Global Citizenship and Equity, Toronto, Canada, April 16-17, 2012.

“Blasphemy and Gender.” Dialogues at the ten-year anniversary celebration of the Scholars at Risk Network, New York University, October 3, 2011.

“Defending Freedom of Speech.” Center for Public Scholarship, University in Exile at the New School for Social Research, New York, April 8, 2011.

“Blasphemy Contexts and Islamic Empires.” Center for Middle Eastern Studies, University of Texas at Austin, October 10, 2009.

“The Female Voice in Sufism.” Television Interview for Voice of America at the Middle Eastern Studies Association Conference, Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, Washington, D.C., November 25, 2008.

“Rumi’s Influence on South Asian Sufi Poets.” International Conference on Mawalana Jalaluddin Rumi, Rice University, April 21, 2007.

“On the Margins, Pakistan's Blasphemy Laws.” South Asian Forum, Columbia University, New York, April 10, 2006.

Discussant. Danish Cartoons. Manhattanville College, Purchase, New York, April 3, 2006.

“Islamic State, Heresy, and Freedom of Speech.” Public talk for SUNY/Purchase College and Scholars at Risk, March 27, 2006.

“Sufis, Performers, Orthodoxy.” Public talk for Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Arizona, March 13, 2006.

“Islamic Orthodoxy in South Asia.” Class presentation at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Prescott, Arizona, March 13, 2006.

“Lecturing on a World She Cannot Lecture In.” New York Times interview by Peter Applebaum, February 22, 2006.

“Protest Elements in Sufi Songs.” Paper presented at Pan Asian Music Festival, Stanford University, CA, February 10-12, 2006.

“Whose Islam Is It? The Clerics or the Majority?" Public talk at Queen's University, Ontario, Canada, October 26, 2005

“Is This Islam? The Power of the Word.” Public talk at Ban Righ Center, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada, October 25, 2005.

“Musical Responses in Islam: Law, Culture and Humanities.” President’s faculty colloquium at SUNY/Purchase College, September 21, 2005.

Chair. "When East Meets West: Law, Religion and Culture.” Association For The Study of Law, Culture and Humanities 2005 Conference, University of Texas at Austin, March 11-12, 2005.

“Risky Knowledge: Postcolonial Laws in Islamic Societies.” Eighth Annual Conference of the Association for the Study of Law, Culture and Humanities, University Texas at Austin, March 11-12, 2005.

Chair. "Law and Culture.” Session at the Association for the Study of Law Culture and Humanities, University of Texas at Austin, March 11-12, 2005.

“Mosaics, the Clerics.” Poem read at the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland, August 2005.

“Preparing for South Asian Diplomacy.” Lecture delivered at the George P. Schulz National Foreign Affairs Training Center, Washington, D.C., March 19, 2004.

“Threats to Intellectual Freedom in the Post-Cold War Era.” Institute for International Education, Scholars Rescue Fund, New York, March 15, 2004.

“Orthodoxy and Women's Human Rights Violation in Pakistani Universities.” Annual Fundraising Dinner, Institute of International Education, Chicago, October 7, 2004.

“Defending 'Dangerous' Ideas: Responding to Attacks on Intellectuals.” Presentation at the University of Chicago's Human Rights Program, October 7, 2004.

“Pakistan’s Postcolonial Islamic Laws in the Era of Post-Cold War Politics.” Seminar, “Beautiful Minds, Risky Times,” Duke University, September 23-24, 2004.

American Institute of Pakistan Studies Lecture Series: University of Texas at Austin, Duke University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and The Research Triangle, University of Columbia NY, and University of Pennsylvania, Fall 1999.

“Primary Education in South Asia: Language Planning, Curriculum Design and Educational Management.” International KELT Seminar at Kinnaird College, Lahore, 1998.

“Evaluating Core English Language Policies in Pakistan.” International English Language Conference, Kinnaird College, Lahore, 1997.

“Creative Writing in English.” Society for Pakistani English Language Teachers and United States Information Service, Islamabad, 1994.

“Sufi Verbal Art.” National Linguistics Conference, Quaid-e Azam University, Islamabad, 1993.

Conference Papers

“Protest Songs of Young Musicians in South Asia.” 49th Annual Meeting of the Society for Ethnomusicology, Tuscon, Arizona, November 3-7, 2004.

“Interfaces of Literacy and Orality: Aesthetics of Resistance in the Mystical Poetry of Pakistan and India.” South Asian Language Association, University of Texas at Austin, October 10-12, 2003.

“Song-Texts of Popular Pakistani Music.” 47th Annual Meeting of the Society for Ethnomusicology, Boulder, Colorado, October 24-27, 2002.

“Sakineh: The Narrator of Karbala.” Conference for Iranian Studies in Washington, D.C., May 2002.

“The Female Voices of Sufism.” Annual Seminar of the Society for Ethnomusicology, Detroit, October 25-28, 2001.

“ESL/EFL: State of the Art in Distance Education.” World Englishes Conference, National University of Singapore, December 1997.

“Women Musicians in Sufi Traditions.” Beijing Women’s Conference, Beijing, 4-15 September, 1995.

“The Power of English in Pakistan.” Conference on World Englishes. University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 1992.

“The Myth of Hir-Ranjha: The Female Voice.” Fifth Annual South Asia Studies Conference on Race, Gender, and Ethnicity in South Asia, University of California, Berkeley, 1991.

Local Presentations

“Exposing Identity: Who We Are and Who We Pretend to Be.” Purchase College, State University of New York. Panel Discussion, October 2, 2015.

“Women and the Veil in Islamic Societies.” Interfaith lecture at the Westchester Reform Temple, NY, May 7, 2013.

“Pakistan’s Blasphemy Laws: From Islamic Empires to the Taliban.” Book reading in Professor Ren Yu’s class on South East Asia, April 17, 2013.

“Talibanization of South Asia.” Presentation in Professor Ren Yu’s class, SUNY/Purchase College, Spring 2011.

“Protest and Resistance: Egypt and the Middle East.” Panel discussion with Professors Peter Schwab and Karen Kramer at the State University of New York, Purchase College, February 9, 2011.

“Homosexuality in Islamic Societies.” Speaker for SUNY Purchase Anthropology Club, Spring 2012.

“U.S. Policy, Guantanamo, Civil Liberties and The Military State.” Media presentation and lecture for the Anthropology Club of SUNY Purchase College, April 10, 2008.

“Women Entertainers in Bollywood Cinema.” DVD presentation & discussion at SUNY Purchase College for Women’s History Month, March 10, 2008.

“Human Rights, Women, Sufis and the Islamic State.” Professor John Gitlitz’s upper-division class, SUNY/Purchase College, October 18, 2005.

“Music, Sufism and Islamic Orthodoxy.” “Spotlight on our Liberal Arts and Sciences Faculty” at SUNY/Purchase College Family Day, October 15, 2005.

“Musical responses in Islam: law, culture and humanities.” Faculty colloquium at SUNY/Purchase College, September 21, 2005.

“Women and Islam.” For one of the local schools in Westchester, 2005.

DETAILS OF AMERICAN POSITIONS

SUNY/Purchase College Courses 2005 to date:

  • POL 3573 Human Rights and Literature
  • POL 3430 Politics of South Asia
  • POL 3307 Politics and Memoir
  • POL 3257 Islamic State, Heresy and Freedom of Speech (now discontinued)
  • POL/GND 3255 Islamic State, Gender and Sexuality
  • POL/GND 2350 Free Speech, Heresy and Gender in Islamic Societies
  • POL 2210 Politics and Media (Computer-Assisted Spring 2014)
  • POL/GND 2105 Citizens Living Under Islamic Laws
  • POL 2020 Governments and Politics Worldwide
  • POL 1120 West Meets the non-West (Computer-Assisted Writing)
  • GND 1520 Introduction to Women’s Studies
  • LIT 4790 Durst Master Class in Literature: Literature and Politics Post 9/11
  • Supervise Research and Senior Thesis
  • Second Reader for Senior Thesis
  • SUNY/Purchase College Governance & Community Service 2005 to date:

  • Currently serving on Budget Planning Committee
  • Served on Purchase College Senate (2013-2015)
  • Served on Creative Writing Search Committee (2006-2007)
  • Served on Journalism Tenure Review Committee (2011)
  • Served on Theatre Review Committee for contract renewal (2008)
  • Served on Anthropology Review Committee for contract renewal (2012)
  • Served on Dance Review Committee for contract renewal (2012)
  • Served on Anthropology Review Committee for contract renewal (2008)
  • Served on Anthropology Tenure Review Committee (2012-2013)
  • Keynote speaker for freshmen, e.g., Zeitoun (biography), Wasteland (film) almost every fall
  • Adviser to International Office (2012)
  • Natural and Social Sciences Symposium Adviser twice
  • Hosted Felix Kaputu (Scholar at Risk), Scott Blackwood (creative writing candidate), 3 art and design artists in residence (2011-2012)
  • Mentor students: interviewee for students, e.g., Julia Podpora’s documentary film and Francis Diofoire’s documentary film; Brendan Szendro’s journalism project.
  • University of Texas at Austin Courses, 2002-2005:

  • Rhetoric and Composition (Computer-Assisted Writing)
  • Critical Reading and Persuasive (Computer-Assisted Writing)
  • Gender and Sexuality in South Asia & the Middle East
  • Reading Women Writers (Computer-Assisted Writing)
  • Creative Writing: Fiction (Computer-Assisted Writing)
  • Creative Writing: Poetry (Computer-Assisted Writing)
  • University of Texas at Austin Courses, 1988-1992
  • Rhetoric and Composition (Computer-Assisted Writing)
  • World Literature
  • DETAILS OF INTERNATIONAL POSITIONS

    Governance and teaching at Allama Iqbal Open University, Islamabad.

    Chair. Department of English Language and Applied Linguistics, 1984-1985; 1992-2000.

    Supervised, the work of British and American consultants working in the department and at the University Grants Commission, which is an advisory body on education and language planning in Pakistan.

    I additionally developed graduate and undergraduate programs in English language. As a result, through the Open University we trained more than three thousand university and college teachers in Pakistan through the largest teacher-training program in South Asia. Additionally, I developed basic literacy English programs for women.

    Textbook Materials for Allama Iqbal Open University, Islamabad, 1980-2000.

    I wrote materials for the graduate and undergraduate program in English language for university faculty and adult learners including materials for women’s education. And, since The Open University, Islamabad published its own materials and had its own printing press I was fully engaged in the publishing process in which I undertook textbook design, book jackets and graphics. I have over three decades of experience in the traditional publishing sector.

    My experience also includes developing educational video and radio programs: trained with University of London, The British Open University and BBC,1982. As a result, my PhD dissertation is derived from video and audio materials.

    Royal Government of Saudi Arabia: Girls College of Education, Riyadh, 1977-1978.

  • Taught graduate classes in English Literature: drama, poetry, prose, criticism
  • Supervised thesis and research for graduate students
  • Designed curriculum
  • Taught undergraduate classes in English Literature
  • Organized a student magazine
  • Mentored students
  • Some of my women graduate students were members of the Saudi royal family.

    Federal Government Colleges for Women, Islamabad, 1969-1978:

  • Pioneered graduate English Literature program for women in Islamabad metropolis
  • Taught graduate classes in English Literature: drama, poetry, prose, criticism
  • Taught undergraduate classes in English Literature
  • Supervised student magazine, SABQAT
  • President Faculty Association/Union for all Federal Colleges including Men’s Colleges
  • General Secretary Faculty Association/Union for all Federal Colleges including Men’s Colleges
  • Through my efforts as President and later General Secretary, we as a union were able to have the colleges nationalized: taken away from the military to the public sector.

    EDITORIAL AND COMMUNITY SERVICE

  • Academic Referee. Oxford University Press, Pakistan, 2002 to date
  • Consultant to the following:

  • National Endowment for the Humanities, 2011 to date
  • Institute for International Education, Scholars’ Rescue Fund, 2005 to date
  • Scholars at Risk, 2005 to date
  • International Office, University of Texas at Austin, 2003-2005
  • United Nations International Children’s Educational Fund, Islamabad, 1992-1994
  • University Grants Commission, Islamabad, 1983-2000
  • Government College University, Lahore, 1992-2000
  • Kinnaird College University, Lahore, 1997-1999
  • International Islamic University, Islamabad, 1996-2000
  • Peshawar University,1992-1999
  • Federal Public Service Commission of Pakistan, Islamabad, 1992-1994
  • PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIPS (Past and Present)

    American Comparative Literature Association
    Middle Eastern Studies Association
    Society for Ethnomusicology
    Association for the Study of Law, Culture and Humanities
    Beta Alpha Phi International Honor Society
    Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society
    Kappa Delta Phi Honor Society
    Modern Language Association
    World Englishes
    Society for Iranian Studies
    South Asian Language Association
    Adventure Foundation of Pakistan

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