Geographies of Sex and Desire: Analysis of imagined national space of Pakistan through Anwar Saeed’s Flying Fish and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Jr.’s Lie Down/ On My Body


BS (Social Sciences & Liberal Arts)

Faculty / School

School of Economics and Social Sciences (SESS)


Department of Social Sciences & Liberal Arts

Date of Award

Summer 2019

Date of Submission



Dr. Naveen Minai, Assistant Professor, Department of Social Sciences


Shahana Rajani

Project Type

SSLA Culminating Experience

Access Type

Restricted Access


Making of states feature instituting a heteropatriarchal family as the basic socioeconomic unit, regulating women’s biological reproduction, and policing men’s sexual activities. When we think about Pakistani state, we discover a unique context where it inherited colonial discriminatory laws and conservative Islamic views exist side by side with popular Muslim traditions, which celebrated same-sex relationships. Pakistani space is constructed and imagined as heteropatriarchal, which is gendered and segregated as public and private.

This thesis explores the gendered and heteropatriarchal imagined public and private spaces of Pakistan and states that queering of the heteropatriarchy is important because the normative gender roles and norms are constructed by the legitimization of heteropatriarchy. These norms and roles function through those gendered spaces. That is why we need to queer in order to challenge those roles and norms which project violence on the bodies which don’t conform to the heteropatriarchy of the national space

I analyze the painting titled Flying Fish by Anwar Saeed, and the artwork titled Lie Down/On My Body by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Jr. through art criticism and visual analysis to explore the themes of hegemonic masculinity, compulsory heterosexuality, space, and heteropatriarchy. My theoretical framework is based in postcolonial, geographical, queer, and feminist of color scholarship.

This thesis is a part of Pakistani art historical scholarship. It tries to subvert the conventional imaginations about spaces, gender, and sex in the post-colonial Pakistani state. It contributes to gender, visual, post-colonial, and Pakistan studies.



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