B.S. Civil Engineering, Focused on Environmental Engineering, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, USA (2015)


My interest in GRSJ arises from lived experiences. Many people remark that a B.S. in Civil Engineering is not a traditional starting point for the kinds of research I wish to pursue. For a long time my research interests could only exist as hobbies. Being at UBC gives me the chance to explore them in scholarly contexts. As a long time resident of Cleveland and the Rust Belt, being the child of Pakistani immigrants, I have seen many interesting interactions of places, people, money, and power.

One of the most frequent reactions to my story I hear is that people “like me” could not possibly come to exist. That is, they mean, someone “like me” must be Coastal, and White. I seek to challenge the narratives of people “like me” in showing that places and peoples considered “fly-over territory” do indeed have their own narratives. That a Desi, non-heterosexual, non-cis Leatherperson researching at UBC with an engineering undergraduate degree is just one of many possibilities of those “like me.” We all carry the places, people, and events that shape us every place we go, and these inform most decisions I make and how I frame myself.

I consider the chance to be at UBC an amazing privilege and gift. For a long time my research interests took second place to jobs or my own self-doubts. Being here, I hope, is a chance to join a community of others and produce works to hopefully shift normative modes of thinking around who does what kinds of research.


I am interested in the human-animal, particularly as it relates to the uncanny-as-erotic, and the non-normative intimacies of gay men as they are commodified and theorized and thus made “acceptable.” I am also interested in the ways non-heterosexuality is tied to Coastal places, infrastructures, and bodies, and how this narrative is used for political and social means.

International Student Award
Faculty of Arts Graduate Award