I am an associate professor in a multidisciplinary humanities and social sciences department. I received my PhD in East Asian Studies from McGill University, where I trained as a specialist of China and Central Asia.
My current writing focuses on bazaars and markets in Central Asia and China’s border regions, inquiring what these ubiquitous public spaces reveal about the economies and political structures in which they operate. I have also published widely on transnational connections and geopolitical alignments between China, Central Asia and north Pakistan that register variously in local histories and affects, multilateral initiatives, and officially curated Silk Road imaginaries. More broadly, I have interests in governance and securitization, development and extraction on state peripheries, and in the deployment and representation of Chinese economic and strategic power, including how Chinese authority responds to—and is contoured by—ground realities in countries where China is pursuing partnership.
I am a member of the editorial board of Asian Anthropology, the advisory board of the International Quarterly of Asian Studies, and the academic committee of the Asian Borderlands Research Network. I have previously served as department chair, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at LUMS, and have had visiting affiliations with institutions in Canada and China. My Google Scholar page is here. Many of my writings can be found on this page—please send me a request email if something you are looking for has not been uploaded.
Karrar, H. (2022). The Power of Money: Chinese Investments and Financialization in an Asian Hinterland. American Behavioral Scientist, 66 (2), 250-265, doi:10.1177/00027642211020062.
Karrar, H. (2020). "The Bazaar in Ruins: Rent and Fire in Barakholka, Almaty". Central Asian Survey, 39 (1), 80-94.
Karrar, H. & Fehlings, S. (2020). "Negotiating State and Society: The Normative Informal Economies of Central Asia and the Caucasus". Central Asian Survey, 39 (1), 1-10, doi:10.1080/02634937.2020.1738345.
Karrar, H. (2020). "Caravan Trade to Neoliberal Spaces: Fifty years of Pakistan-China connectivity across the Karakoram Mountains". Modern Asian Studies, doi:10.1017/S0026749X20000050.
Karrar, H. (2019). "Between Border and Bazaar: Central Asia's Informal Economy". Journal of Contemporary Asia, 49 (2), doi:10.1080/00472336.2018.1532017.
Karrar, H. (2019). "In the Shadow of the Silk Road: Border Regimes and Economic Corridor Development through an Unremarkable Pakistan-China Border Market". Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, 39 (3).
Karrar, H. (2018). "Assembling Marginality in Northern Pakistan". Political Geography, 63, 65-74, doi:10.1016/j.polgeo.2018.01.005.
Karrar, H. (2018). "Resistance to State-orchestrated Modernization in Xinjiang: The Genesis of Unrest in the Multiethnic Frontier". China Information, 32 (2), 183-202, doi:10.1177/0920203X17746928.
Karrar, H. (2018). "The Silk Road versus the Central Asian Bazaar – Two Thousand Years – or Twenty-Five Years – of Exchange and Mobility?". Anthrpological Persepectives, (IV), 13-22.
Karrar, H. (2017). Review of Brophy, D. Uyghur Nation: Reform and Revolution on the Russia-China Frontier. China Information, 31 (1), 122-124, doi:10.1177/0920203X17694438i.
Karrar, H. (2017). "Kyrgyzstan's Dordoi and Kara-Suu Bazaars: Mobility, Globalization and Survival in Two Central Asian Markets.". Globalizations, 14 (4), 643-657, doi:10.1080/14747731.2016.1201323.
Karrar, H. (2017). "Shanghai Spirit Two Decades on: Language, Globalization, and Space-Making in Sino-Central Asian cooperation". The International Journal of the Sociology of Language, 247, 111-126, doi:10.1515/ijsl-2017-0024.
Karrar, H. & Kakalia, S. (2016). "Polio, Public Health, and the New Pathologies of Militancy in Pakistan". Critical Public Health, 26 (4), 446-454, doi:10.1080/09581596.2015.1106441.
Karrar, H. (2016). "The Resumption of Sino-Central Asian Trade, c. 1983-1994: Confidence Building and Reform along a Cold War fault line". Central Asian Survey, 35 (3), 334-350, doi:10.1080/02634937.2016.1155384.
Karrar, H. (2015). Review of Roy, D. Return of the Dragon: Rising China and Regional Security. Pacific Affairs, 88 (1), 171-173.
Karrar, H. & Ahmad, A. (2015). "Capitalism, Nature, Socialism in South Asia: Perspectives on Ecology from India and Pakistan". Capitalism, Nature, Socialism, 26 (3), 48-63, doi:10.1080/10455752.2015.1067633.
Karrar, H. & Ahmad, A. (2015). "Introduction.". Capitalism, Nature, Socialism, 26 (3), 44-47, doi:10.1080/10455752.2015.1067632.
Karrar, H. (2014). "Looking Eastward to China: Beijing's Central Asian Foreign Policy and its Implications for China's New Silk Road Initiatives". Open Forum, 3 (6).
Karrar, H. (2013). "Merchants, Markets and the State: Informality, Transnationality and Spatial Imaginaries in the Revival of Central Eurasian Trade". Critical Asian Studies, 45 (3), 459-480, doi:10.1080/14672715.2013.829315.
Karrar, H. (2012). "From Pastoral Nomadism to Shuttle Trading: A Long View of Commerce and Modernity Along the Sino-Central Asian Border", Published. M.Gervers and G.Long (Eds.), Material Culture, Language and Religion in Central and Inner Asia, (pp. 201-212), Asian Institute.
Karrar, H. (2008). "Reining in the Periphery: The Modernization of Economic and Human Geographies in Post-Liberation Xinjiang", Published. M.Gervers, U.E.Bulag and G.Long (Eds.), The Exploitation of the Landscape of Central and Inner Asia: Past, Present and Future; Toronto Studies in Central and Inner Asia, (pp. 209-221), Asian Institute.
Karrar, H. (2017). "Between a Border and Hard Place: The Limitations of Local Capital in a China-Pakistan Border Market". Association for Asian Studies (AAS) Annual Conference, Toronto, Canada.
Karrar, H. (2016). "Sost, Gilgit-Baltistan: A Village, a Road, and a Bazaar on the Edge of China". Fifth Asian Borderlands Research Network (ABRN) conference, Dynamic Borderlands: Livelihoods, Communities and Flows, organized by the International Institute for Asian Studies (the Netherlands) and Social Sciences Baha, Kathmandu, Nepal.
Karrar, H. (2016). "Misreading the Market? Lessons from Failing in Bazaar-based Trade in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Northern Pakistan". Seventeenth Annual Central Eurasian Studies Society (CESS) conference, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, United States of America.
Karrar, H. (2015). "China's New Silk Road Initiative and Pakistan: Promises, Perils, and Pitfalls.". Third Annual Social Sciences Conference, Lahore School of Economics, Lahore, Pakistan.
Karrar, H. (2015). "Kyrgyzstan's Dordoi and Kara-Suu Bazaars: Mobility, Survival and Globalization in Two Central Asian Markets". Sixteenth Annual Central Eurasian Studies Society (CESS) Conference, George Washington University, Washington D.C, United States of America.
Karrar, H. (2014). "Xinjiang under the Reform Era: Modernization, Memory, and Violence in a Multiethnic Frontier". Conference-Workshop: The Global War Centenary, 1914-2014, LUMS, Lahore, Pakistan.
Karrar, H. (2014). "The Informal Economies of Post-Cold War Central Eurasia: Licit and Illicit Exchanges across the Sino-Central Asian Border". Fourth Asian Borderlands Research Network (ABRN) Conference, Re-openings, Ruptures and Relationships, organized by the City University of Hong Kong, the International Institute for Asian Studies (the Netherlands), Kowloon, China- Hong Kong.
Karrar, H. (2014). "Chinese-Central Asian Bazaar Networks: The View from Kyrgyzstan's Marketplaces.". The Silk Web in the 21st Century: Global Landscapes amongst the West, China and the Southwest Asia, organized by the Center for Chinese and American Studies, The Johns Hopkins University – Nanjing University, Nanjing, China.
Karrar, H. (2014). "Looking East Along the New Silk Road: Perceptions of China from Independent Central Asia.". Association for Asian Studies (AAS) Annual Conference, Philadelphia, United States of America.
Karrar, H. (2013). "Pivotal Projections: Geographical Fulcrums of History and the Framing of Asia in the Writings of Halford Mackinder and Owen Lattimore". Conference, Framing 'Asian Studies': Geopolitics, Institutions, Networks, sponsored by International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) in partnership with Institute for Southeast Asian Studies (ISAS), Leiden, Netherlands.
Karrar, H. (2013). "The Frontier Transformed: Ecology, Modernity and the State on the Chinese Periphery During a Century of Revolution since 1911". Conference: Asian Ecologies: Capitalism, Modernity and the Environment, LUMS, Lahore, Pakistan.
Karrar, H. (2012). "Merchants, Markets, and Crony Capitalism: Explaining the Frontier Economy in Chinese Central Asia Today". Inter-Asian Connections III: Shifting Geopolitical Ecologies and New Spatial Imaginaries, sponsored by the HKIHSS, NUS, and the SSRC, University of Hong Kong, Pok Fu Lam, China- Hong Kong.
Karrar, H. (2012). "Bargains across Borders: China, Central Asia, and the Discursive Boundaries between Formal and Informal Mercantilism". Conference: Formal and Informal Central Asia: Institutions, Identities and Discourses, American University of Central Asia (AUCA), Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
Karrar, H. (2012). "Religion, Violence, and Identity in a Multiethnic Borderland: State and Counter-State Discourses in Chinese Central Asia Today". Association for Asian Studies (AAS) Annual Conference, Toronto, Canada.
Karrar, H. (2012). "Markets, Merchants and the State: Exploring the Frontier Economy in Chinese Central Asia Today". Humanities and Social Sciences Research Seminar Series, LUMS, Lahore, Pakistan.
Karrar, H. (2010). "Identity Formation along the Sino-Central Asian Borderland: Tradition, State Modernization, and Global Market Forces". Conference, Contemporary Approaches to Hybridity, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.
Karrar, H. (2010). "Zones of Conflict, Zones of Rapprochement: The Central Asian Frontier in Sino-Soviet Relations During the Cold War". Seventeenth Annual Tri-University History Conference, Cold War Encounters: National, International, and Transnational History in the 20th Century, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Canada-Ontario.
Karrar, H. (2009). "Modernization, Markets, and Shuttle Trade as Alternatives to Pastoral Nomadism in Contemporary Inner Asia". Toronto Inner Asian Seminar at the tenth Annual Central Eurasian Studies Society Conference, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.
Karrar, H. (2009). "Merchants and Transnational Mercantilism in Greater Central Asia". Tenth Annual Central Eurasian Studies Society Conference, Toronto, Canada.
Karrar, H. (2008). "The Shanghai Cooperation Organization: New Directions in Chinese Foreign Policy?". Asia on the Move, Canadian Asian Studies Association Annual Conference, Waterloo, Canada-Ontario.
Karrar, H. (2007). "The Development of China's Central Asian Foreign Policy.". Central and Inner Asian Speaker Series & Dr. David Chu Special Seminar Series, Munk Centre for International Studies, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.
Karrar, H. (2007). "Reining in the Periphery: The Modernization of Economic and Human Geography in Post-Liberation Xinjiang". Conference: The Exploitation of the Landscape of Central and Inner Asia: Past, Present, and Future, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.
Karrar, H. (2003). "The Shanghai Cooperation Organization and China's Central Asian Security Concerns Since 1991". East Asian Studies Speaker Series, McGill University, Montreal, Canada-Quebec.
Karrar, H. (2002). "The Promises and Predicaments of Central Asia's Energy Reserves". Conference: A New Great Game? The New Geopolitics of Central Asia, Centre for Developing Areas Studies, McGill University, Montreal, Canada-Quebec.
Karrar, H. (2002). "Frontier Challenges: China's Central Asian Foreign Policy in the Post-Soviet Era". East Asian Studies Speaker Series, McGill University, Montreal, Canada-Quebec.