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UNC Anthropologist Recognized for Bringing Attention to Issues in Kashmir

Ather Zia and book cover graphic

April 7, 2021

Ather ZiaAther Zia, Ph.D., an associate professor of Anthropology and Gender Studies at the University of Northern Colorado, was recently awarded the Public Anthropologist Award, a competitive award instituted by Public Anthropologist, an international, peer-reviewed journal.

The award is given to a social and cultural anthropologist who has published an outstanding contribution that addresses – in innovative, engaging and compelling ways – key societal issues related to one or more of the following topics: violence, war, poverty, social movements, freedom, aid, rights, injustice, inequality, social exclusion, racism, health and/or environmental challenges.

“I feel a sense a validation for the engaged research and writing based on the region of Kashmir that I have been doing for over a decade and a half now,” Zia wrote.

She is also the co-founder of critical Kashmir studies collective with the goal of bringing attention to the region of Kashmir from the vantage of Kashmiris. A view, Zia wrote, that has been “subsumed under the narratives of dominant nations.”

Zia was also one of 100 women from the Global South recently nominated in honor of International Women’s Day for their work in the fields of foreign policy, peacebuilding, law, activism and development. She was also awarded Advocate of the Year Award 2021 by Justice for All, a social justice organization that has a consultative status with the United Nations.

“These recognitions are important in highlighting the subjugated knowledges that my work illustrates to expose the Indian governments’ policies to control Kashmiri dissent and its genuine demand for self-determination as mandated by the United Nations,” Zia wrote.

Currently, Zia is in the process of publishing a collection of ethnographic poetry based on her work in Kashmir, which is tentatively titled, “Field-in-Verse: Writing under Occupation,” as well as a set of short stories and a novella. She is also co-editing a volume titled, “Dreams Under Occupation,” and her current research focuses on Indian settler colonial areas.

Her book, Resisting Disappearance: Military Occupation and Women's Activism in Kashmir, also won the National Women’s Studies Association’s 2020 Gloria Anzaldua Honorable mention award.

Resistancing Disappearance book cover
Cover of Zia's book,
Resisting Disappearance: Military Occupation and Women's Activism in Kashmir. (Image courtesy of Zia)

—Written by Katie Corder