Ahmed Afzal

Contact Information

Office: McCarthy Hall 426G

Phone: 657-278-8578

Email: aafzal@fullerton.edu 

Ahmed Afzal

Associate Professor


Ahmed Afzal (he/him/his) is Associate Professor of Anthropology at California State University, Fullerton. Dr. Afzal completed his undergraduate education at Vassar College (BA, Self-Designed Major: Third World Cultures), and his graduate education at the London School of Economics (MSc, Cultural Geography, Distinction) and at Yale University (MPhil and PhD, Cultural Anthropology). 

Dr. Afzal has taught at Colgate University, State University of New York at Purchase, and California State University, Stanislaus, prior to teaching at California State University, Fullerton.

Dr. Afzal is the author of Lone Star Muslims: Transnational Lives and the South Asian Experience in Texas (New York University Press, 2015).


Research Areas

Dr. Afzal’s research focuses on globalization, urbanism, and everyday life; gender and sexuality; anthropology of mass and digital media; transnational communities; South Asian Americans and Muslim Americans; and new immigrant experiences with special emphasis on the United States and contemporary Pakistan.

Dr. Afzal is currently working on two research projects. The first project is a multi-sited ethnographic study of the uses of social networking apps in urban Pakistan. The second project examines representations of the South Asian American experience in a variety of media including Urdu-language Pakistani cinema and television drama series, Indian cinema, and Hollywood cinema and television.


MPhil and PhD, Cultural Anthropology, Yale University

MSc, Environmental Assessment and Evaluation, Cultural Geography, London School of Economics (LSE) Distinction

BA, Self-designed Major: Third World Cultures, Vassar College

Selected Publications


Tales from Grindr in Pakistan. In progress research.

Mediated Disruptions: South Asian American Experiences on Screen. Book manuscript under preparation.

Lone Star Muslims: Transnational Lives and the South Asian Experience in Texas. New York: New York University Press. January 2015.


Peer Reviewed Journal Articles 

Constructing Cosmopolitan Queer Lives: Tales from Grindr in Pakistan. Under preparation.

Jackson Heights (2015): Transnational lives and the South Asian Muslim American experience in Pakistani television dramas. Under preparation.

“Being Gay Has Been a Curse for Me”: Gay Muslim Americans, narrative and negotiations of belonging in the Muslim ummah. Journal of Language and Sexuality, Special Issue: Queering Borders: Language, Sexuality and Migration, 3 (1) (2014), 60-86. 

From an Informal to a Transnational Muslim Heritage Economy: Transformations in the Pakistani ethnic economy in Houston, Texas. Urban Anthropology, 39 (4) (2010), 397-424. 


Peer Reviewed Book Chapters 

Beyond Hooking Up: Tales from Grindr in Pakistan. In Pakistan Desires: Queer Futures, edited by Omar Kasmani. Durham: Duke University Press. Revised & submitted for peer review, June 2021. 

Pakistani Families. In Asian Families in Canada and the United States: Implications for Mental Health and Well-being, edited by Susan Chuang et al., p. 161-183. New York: Springer Press. April 2021.

“I Want a Yaar”: Pakistani Muslim American gay men and transnational same-sex sexual cultures in the West. In Gender, Sexuality, Decolonization: South Asia in the World Perspective, edited by Ahonaa Roy, p. 137-159. Abingdon, UK & New York, NY: Routledge. December 2020.

“You’ll Learn Much about Pakistanis from Listening to Radio”: Pakistani radio programming in Houston, Texas. In Global Asian American Popular Cultures, edited by Shilpa Dave, LeiLeni Nishime, and Tasha Oren, pp. 124-138. New York: New York University Press. May 2016.

Islam, Marriage, and Yaari: Making meaning of male same-sex sexual relationships in Pakistan. In Cultural Politics of Gender and Sexuality in Contemporary Asia, edited by Tiantian Zheng, pp. 187-204. Honolulu: U. of Hawai’i Press. March 2016. 

“It’s Allah’s Will that I am Here”: U.S. State surveillance and the immigrant experience of the Pakistani Muslim working poor”. In Shifting Positionalities: The Local and Global Geopolitics of Surveillance and Policy, edited by M. Viteri & A. Tobler, pp. 184-203. UK: Cambridge Scholars. 2009.

Family Planning & Male Friendships: Saathi condom and male same sex-sexual desire in Pakistan. In Culture & the Condom, edited by K. Anijar & T. DaoJensen, pp. 177-205. NY: Peter Lang. 2005.


Book and Film Reviews and Encyclopedia Chapters

Invited Review: Redefining the Immigrant South: Indian and Pakistani Immigration to Houston during the Cold War, by Uzma Quraishi. Journal of American History. Forthcoming Fall 2021.

Invited Review: Pathways of Desire: The Sexual Migration of Mexican Gay Men, by Hector Carrillo. City and Society. Vol. 31 (2), 321-323, August 2019.

Film Review: Visible Silence (2016). Directed by Ruth Gumnit. Urbanities: Journal of Urban Ethnography. 8 (1), 97-98, March 2018.

Invited Review: Queer Beirut, by Sofian Merabet. American Ethnologist. 42 (4), 785-87, Nov 2015.

Review Essay: Intimacies, Relationships and Socialities: South Asians and Racialist America in the Early Twentieth Century. A Review Essay of Bengali Harlem and the Lost Histories of South Asian America, by Vivek Bald; Stranger Intimacy: Contesting Race, Sexuality, and the Law in the North American West, by Nayan Shah; and Coolie Woman: The Odyssey of Indenture, by Gaiutra Bahadur. American Studies Journal. 54 (2), 5-17, June 2015.

Encyclopedia Chapter: Gay Rights and Legislation in Puerto Rico. In Proud Heritage: People, Issues, and Documents of the LGBT Experience (3 vols.), edited by Chuck Stewart, pp. 1157-64. Santa Barbara: ABC-Clio, 2014. 

Invited Review: Terrifying Muslims: Race and Labor in the South Asian Diaspora, by Junaid Rana. American Anthropologist, 116 (1), 42-43, March 2014.

Invited Review: Muslims in Motion: Islam and Muslim Identity in the Bangladeshi Diaspora, by Nazli Kibria. Amerasia Journal, 39 (2), 126-129, 2013.

Encyclopedia Entries: “Ethnocentrism” and “Veil”. Encyclopedia of Immigrant Health, edited by S. Loue and M. Sajatovic, pp. 655-56 and pp. 1468-69. New York: Springer + Business, 2011.