What I am Reading Now…
Naiza Khan

October 2020

There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.*

As a visual artist, I often find myself responding to a text through image making; a connection that is not easily translatable, but very tenuous and ephemeral.

What draws me to the five books/authors listed, is their commitment to develop a methodology which comes from the ground; de-colonial, feminist, working with experimental modes of enquiry and specific to the cultural and geographical context in which they work. This is crucially linked to social justice and indigenous political organizing and resistance. Each author explores a method, which allows for multiple ways of seeing and creates a sense of embodied knowledge – and a passing of knowledge across generations, which becomes an act of active inheritance. In this way, they reveal that questions of race, gender, class and environmental justice need to be interrogated as an intersectional space – and with greater transnational solidarity.

I feel this opens up the possibility to reflect not only on struggles of race relations, but also of animating historical memory to inspire future modes of resistance.

These texts have enabled me to rethink my research practice through a context-specific lens and to learn from the practice and pedagogy of scholars and activists in the field. I explore how ideas of a performative, embodied mapping allows for multiple ways of sensing the land and the body; how this gesture can invoke and visualize speculative possibilities and modes of protest against the structures of power that we are trying to resist.

Audre Lorde, Learning from the 1960s (1982)

Naiza Khan is a visual artist who represented Pakistan for its inaugural pavilion at the 58th Venice Biennale (2019) with the project Manora Field Notes. Her visual practice is built on a process of critical research, documentation and mapping-based exploration. Khan works between London and Karachi.


Beyond the Pink Tide: Art and Political Undercurrents in the Americas, Macarena Gómez-Barris (University of California Press, 2018)

Across Oceans of Law: The Komagata Maru and Jurisdiction in the Time of Empire, Renisa Mawani (Duke University Press Books, 2018)

Postcards from the Underground, Astrida Neimanis, & Perdita Phillips (Journal of Public Pedagogies (4), 2019)

Feminism without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity, Chandra Talpade Mohanty (Duke University Press Books, 2003)

I Swear I Saw This, Michael Taussig (University of Chicago Press, 2011)


Please note the views published in What I am Reading Now… are personal reflections of the contributors.
These may not necessarily represent the views of the University of Dundee.


Previous Issue: Louis Chude-Sokei, 2020
Next Issue: Amia Srinivasan, November 2020