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Areas of interest: development, women’s rights, South Asia, religion 

Rural areas in Pakistan continue to be controlled by landed elites, who rule their fiefdoms with their own form of local governance. It is within these circles that religion and customary laws reinforce one another. In rural Pakistan, the Jirga system serves as an informal institution that exerts control on women through village courts, and reinforces a system of power and patronage. How are such traditional networks still able to maintain the power to shape policies that influence women’s lives and aspirations? 

My research analyzes the means through which these traditional networks sustain their dominance through village courts, and the mechanisms in motion that give women the agency to contest sentences, which pose a threat to their basic human rights.

Born and raised in Lahore, Pakistan, Sarah received her BA in Political Science from Hiram College, Ohio and her MAIS in South Asia from University of Washington in Seattle, before joining the Sociology graduate program in the University of Oregon, Eugene. When not doing research, writing, grading or napping, she enjoys going to new places, painting, good food and a good cup of chai.