Sonia Qadir

Sonia Qadir

Postgraduate Research Student
BA-LLB (LUMS - Lahore, Pakistan); Masters of Arts in Liberal Studies (The New School - New York City)

Scientia PhD Candidate, Research Assistant & Sessional Tutor

Sonia hails from Lahore, Pakistan and her PhD project looks at Pakistan's contemporary Legal Security regime from an ethnographic perspective. She is a Fulbright Masters Scholar (2013-2015) and an Australia Awards Fellow (2017-2018).

Sonia has worked extensively in both the legal and development fields in Pakistan, including as a human rights attorney, as a legal consultant for Punjab Commission on the Status of Women, and a Program Manager for Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency. She has also lectured at LUMS, and served as a tutor in Politics and Governance at UNSW. These roles combine her interest in the intersections of law, politics and critical social theory, and inform the interdisciplinary nature of her research.

Sonia is a current post-graduate representative for the South Asian Studies Association of Australia, part of the editorial committee of the South Asian studies blog "Chapati Mystery", and a co-organiser of the post-graduate Critical Theory Reading group at UNSW. She is also passionate about feminist politics, struggles around epistemic and material decolonisation and movements for economic justice. In her spare time, she enjoys reading Punjabi poetry and contemplating the alternative futurities inherent in it, and other indigenous and spiritual traditions.

Areas of research

Criminal Law, National Security laws and Policing, Legal Anthropology, Colonial and Postcolonial History, Critical Theory/Critical Legal Studies, South Asia


Ben Golder, Vicki Sentas, Daniel Mcloughlin

Publications and presentations

  • Suspension, Risk, Suspicion: Field dispatches from Pakistan under COVID- 19 (Platypus: the CASTAC blog, 2020)
  • Re-Orientalizing Feminism: A review of Afiya Zia's book, Faith and Feminism in Pakistan: Religious Agency or Secular Autonomy (Jamhoor Magazine, 2019)
  • Postcolonial Legal Regimes: Terror and Indignity. (Paper presented at the annual Law and Society Association Conference in Washington D.C, 2019)
  • The Muslim as Fanatic: British Colonial Legality and the Construction of the Other in Contemporary Pakistan (Paper presented at the Critical Legal Studies Conference in Perugia, Italy, 2019)
  • “Security” as a Colonial Project: Imagining Alternative Futures in the Islamicate (Paper presented at AAIMS Second Conference on the Study of Islam and Muslim Societies at Western Sydney University, 2019)
  • Islamophobia, Trumpism and the End of Empire (Paper presented at Trump and the Middle East Conference at Deakin University, Melbourne, 2018).