Maria Rashid

May 8, 2020

Dying to Serve

Militarism, Affect, and the Politics of Sacrifice in the Pakistan Army

Stanford University Press 2020

In her spellbindingly brilliant new book, Dying to Serve: Militarism, Affect, and the Politics of Sacrifice in the Pakistan Army (Stanford University Press, 2020), Maria Rashid conducts an intimate and layered ethnography of militarism and death in Pakistan, with a focus on the lives, aspirations, and tragedies of soldiers and their families in rural Punjab. How does the Pakistani military’s regulation and management of affect and emotions like grief authorize and sustain the practice of sacrificing the self in service to the nation? Rashid addresses this question through a riveting and at many times hauntingly majestic analysis of a range of themes including carefully choreographed public spectacles of mourning, military regimes of cultivating martial subjects, fissures between official scripts and unofficial unfoldings of grieving, anxieties over the representation of maimed soldiers, and ambiguities surrounding the appropriation of martyrdom (shahādat) for death on the battlefield. Theoretically incisive, ethnographically charged, and politically urgent, Dying to Serve is a landmark publication in the study of South Asia, Pakistan, and modern militarism that is destined to become a classic. It is also written with lyrical lucidity, making it an excellent text to teach in a range of undergraduate and graduate courses on modern Islam, South Asia, religion and violence, gender and masculinity, affect studies, and theories and methods in anthropology and religion.
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 sherali.tareen@fandm.edu. Listener feedback is most welcome.

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SherAli Tareen

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 book Defending Muhammad in Modernity (University of Notre Dame Press, 2020) received the American Institute of Pakistan Studies 2020 Book Prize and was selected as a finalist for the 2021 American Academy of Religion Book Award. His other academic publications are available here. He can be reached at sherali.tareen@fandm.edu. Listener feedback is most welcome.

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