I am a sociologist, working on the intersection of the sub-fields of religion, culture and globalization. My dissertation project is based on the Shia pilgrimage to Karbala, Iraq and asks the question: are we becoming similar culturally and religiously because of this global pilgrimage? I focus on Shia Muslim pilgrims from Pakistan, who join approximately 20 million Shia pilgrims annually in sacred space to perform mourning rituals. I look at three distinct units of analysis. One, I look at how global religious rituals being maintained in a way that creates cultural pluralism and standard religiosity at the same time. Two, I look at the development of sacred space around the world and its global orientation. I look at whether this reshaping of sacred space has implications for religious practice. Three, I look at the way pilgrims negotiate meaning around their experiences once they come home and what it means for local religious practice. I also look at visual media, particularly the representations of religion and military in Pakistan visual media, and its implication for national and international conflicts.
I currently looking at Ehd-e-Wafa (Urdu: Pledge of Allegiance), a 2019 Pakistan television serial sponsored by the Pakistan Army, and look at the choices from the creative team to manage different sets of representation.
I am looking at the points of intersection between religion, globalization and transnationalism, how these themes impact local religion and culture and how these themes play out in a developing urban landscape in South Asia.
Local Expressions, Global Arenas: Ritual and Culture in the Arba’een Pilgrimage in Iraq
Nov 2, 2022
From July through September 2022, Kellogg Doctoral Affiliate Syed Eisar Haider (sociology) traveled to Pakistan, on a Kellogg Institute Graduate Research Grant to conduct research for his project, “Local Expressions, Global Arenas: Ritual and Culture in the Arba’een Pilgrimage in Iraq”. Upon his return, he sent the following summary of his work.