Mariam Durrani


Mariam Durrani is a teacher, writer, and ethnographer.  She is currently receiving her phD in both Anthropology and Educational Linguistics at UPenn.  Her current research focuses on the “transnational ensembles” forged by Muslim university students in Lahore and New York; ensembles that are facilitated by migration (rural to urban and transnational) and manifest in shared linguistic mixing practices and bodily comportments. Her study reveals how global capitalism, marked by the world-class university, influences her students’ educational aspirations while simultaneously re-fashioning how they make sense of their religious, gender, and ethnic identities. Mariam takes her teaching just as seriously as her research, having taught at UPenn, Hunter College in New York, and Lahore University of Management Science in Lahore, Pakistan. These diverse teaching experiences have made her especially sensitive to the differential instruction that her students may need and she has a special interest in the science of teaching writing within the university context, especially for students who come from non-English speaking backgrounds. Finally, Mariam continues to experiment with the form her research and teaching might take, developing filmic methods – what she calls ‘filmlets’ – to teach complex concepts to her students. She has also made two collaborative films with the Rastafarian community in South Africa and is a member of camra (, a UPenn-based collective dedicated to multimodal research.

Research Interests

Transnationalism, semiotics, register formations, notions of diaspora, language education in Pakistan, anthropology of youth, language ideology, ethnographic film, South Asian heritage, postcoloniality, racialized construction of brown identities.

Selected Publications


Durrani, Mariam. (2012) “Banishing Colonial Specters: Language Ideology and Education Policy in Pakistan.” Working Papers in Educational Linguistics. 27, 1.

*Book Reviews:*

Durrani, Mariam. (2012). Review of Multilingualism, Citizenship, and Identity. Julie Byrd Clark. Anthropology and Education Quarterly (forthcoming).

Durrani, Mariam. (2011) Review of Social Justice through Multilingual Education. Tove Skutnabb-Kangas, Robert Phillipson, Ajit K. Mohanty and Minati Panda (eds). Language Policy 10, 3.

*Selected refereed conference papers:*

“Karna chahiye: Exploring the Diaspora through a Study of Language Mixing Practices.” Paper Presentation at the  American Anthropological Association Meeting (2011).

“Being Desi: Circulating Emblems of Identity for South Asian Diasporic Students in an American Public School.” Paper presentation at the Georgetown Roundtable for Language and Linguistics (2011).

Graduation Year



Dissertation Title

A Study on Mobility Pakistani-Origin Muslin Youth in Higher Education

Graduate Status