South Asian Affairs
Usman Mahar is an early career researcher at the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU). Currently conducting ethnographic fieldwork for his doctoral research in Pakistan and Germany, he is carrying out what can be called the "anthropology of removal". More specifically, Usman is conducting an ethnographic study of deportations and “voluntary” return programs targeted at many Pakistani asylum seekers in Germany. He completed his graduate studies in social and medical anthropology at Heidelberg University and his undergraduate studies in anthropology and moral philosophy at the Utrecht University.
Apart from the anthropology of Pakistan, Usman has been engaged with the ethnographic study of national approaches to transnational migration. Of particular interest to him are the ill-effects of (1) unequally distributed consequences of climate change, (2) culturally-insensitive development agendas, and (3) the ever-increasing restrictions on human mobility –– usually justified by economic, security, development or other similar national interests. Usman's anthropological expertise lies in identifying the structural causes and effects of irregular migration and the experienced intersectionalities (political, socioeconomic, racial, gendered, etc.) which force people to search for greener pastures. According to him, sustainable solutions to such problems need to go beyond the mere securitization and "externalization" of national borders and national interests –– which is counterproductive and at best ineffective. Usman firmly believes that if we address some of the below-mentioned SDGs amongst others we may not need to control our borders through walls, fences and guns.
Usman focuses on the following SDGs: