Feminist documentary film in Pakistan: deconstructing cinematic discourse on feminism, culture and Islam

Khan, Zahid (2021) Feminist documentary film in Pakistan: deconstructing cinematic discourse on feminism, culture and Islam. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

Due to Embargo and/or Third Party Copyright restrictions, this thesis is not available in this service.


This thesis foregrounds cinematic discourse on feminism, culture, and Islam, orchestrated through the lens of feminist documentary. It undertakes textual analyses of ten representative films, unravelling how cultural and religious discourses relegate Pakistani women as second-class citizens. Such discourses are frequently cultivated through mainstream media and commercial cinema, both swayed by the state appropriation of an Islamic ideology. Feminist filmmakers reject these discourses, arguing that such circumscribed narratives banish the ideals of cultural diversity, religious harmony and free speech, fostering an environment of intolerance. Their films vehemently oppose the religious and patriarchal discourses that fray the social fabric of the nation. They contest the patriarchal interpretation of Islam and perverse sense of nationalism, which have arguably rendered Pakistani society as schizophrenic where individuals are frequently pitted against each other under the pretext of ideology.

Though, the representative documentaries commence discourse on four overarching themes, Islamization, gender-based violence, girls’ education and women’s contestation of the epicentres of discrimination. They transcend these issues and unearth the deep-rooted structures that render women as half citizens, deprived of their fundamental rights. Since the orchestration of feminist discourse is the central concern of the study. Hence, it pays special attention to the documentary modes and cinematic techniques, with a deliberation on the filmmaker's distinct approaches towards the expression of documentary ‘voice’. The ten representative documentaries have been placed within a historical and political context, considering Pakistan as a postcolonial state. Therefore, postcolonialism serves as a critical framework of this research project.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts & Humanities > School of Culture and Creative Arts > Theatre Film and TV Studies
Supervisor's Name: Eleftheriotis, Professor Dimitris and Goode, Dr. Ian
Date of Award: 2021
Embargo Date: 7 July 2024
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2021-82312
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 09 Jul 2021 12:48
Last Modified: 12 Jul 2021 07:50
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.82312
URI: https://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/82312

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