Claire Pamment’s book Comic Performance in Pakistan: The Bhānd (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017) is a fantastic new book centered on the Punjabi folk art of the...

Claire Pamment’s book Comic Performance in Pakistan: The Bhānd (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017) is a fantastic new book centered on the Punjabi folk art of the Bhānd, or comic performance. Pamment explores the history and present of the Bhānd and Bhānd artists through a thoroughly interdisciplinary lens that engages performance studies, ethnography, history, and the study of religion. In our conversation on this wonderful new book, we talked about the pre-colonial Islamicate and colonial history of the Bhānd, the way in which this genre complicates the boundaries of Hindu and Muslim folk art, the manner in which the bhānd has disturbed and unsettled class and gender hierarchies in Pakistan, the political work of the bhānd, and the bhānd in the era of satellite television. This lyrically written book on a long-running and hugely important tradition of Islamicate humor will interest much scholars of Islam, South Asia, Anthropology, and Performance Studies.


SherAli Tareen is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Franklin and Marshall College. His research focuses on Muslim intellectual traditions and debates in early modern and modern South Asia. His academic publications are available here. He can be reached at [email protected]. Listener feedback is most welcome.