Nyla Ali Khan

Adjunct Associate Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies and Visiting Professor of English, University of Oklahoma
Chapter Member: Oklahoma SSN

About Nyla

Khan emphasizes the traditional concepts of composition and style as well as recent rhetorical theory, teaching students to appreciate the various social and historical contexts of writing, reading, and language. Her personal history, education, and scholarship have made her sensitive to the diversity of cultural traditions and to the questions and conflicts within them, and she brings this sensitivity to her teaching as well. As a literature teacher, Khan stresses the importance of close reading while also drawing attention to the cultural, social, and historical contexts of literature. Through her writings, she critically observes the sociopolitical discourse in South Asia, particularly Kashmir, through an oblique focus from the margins instead of from an elitist center. Currently, she is involved in the restoration of the State Archives in Kashmir, a project on which she is working in collaboration with senior administrators in Jammu and Kashmir. Her goal is to engage in reflective action as an educator working with diverse cultural and social groups questioning the exclusivity of cultural nationalism, the erosion of cultural syncretism, the ever-increasing dominance of religious fundamentalism, and the irrational resistance to cultural and linguistic differences. She believes that acknowledging our complicity in oppression, reconceptualizing paradigmatic structures, and mobilizing cultural and political coalitions are riddled with conflict but it is the need of the day for us to engage in these processes. In 2015, Khan will act as editor of and contribute an article to a special issue of the Oxford Islamic Studies Online journal focusing on Jammu and Kashmir. She also serves on the Advisory Council of the Oklahoma Commission on the Status of Women.

In the News

Regular contributions by Nyla Ali Khan to Daily Times.
Opinion: "Solving Kashmir," Nyla Ali Khan, Daily Times, July 22, 2018.
Opinion: "Kashmir, Nothing Can be Achieved Sans Infinite Hope," Nyla Ali Khan, Daily Times, March 14, 2018.
Opinion: "Repairing the Tapestry That Kashmir Once Was," Nyla Ali Khan, Daily Times, March 8, 2018.
Opinion: "Restoration of Democracy Requires Active Love, Not Belligerence or Complacency," Nyla Ali Khan, Red Dirt Report, February 28, 2018.
Quoted by in "Mahatma Gandhi’s Strategy Relevant to Combat Kashmir Crises," Only Kashmir, January 30, 2018.
Opinion: "The Origins of the Quit Kashmir Movement, 1931–1947," Nyla Ali Khan, Oxford Islamic Studies, July 30, 2015.
Interviewed in "‘Contemporary No Way to Look at History’," Tribune India, July 5, 2015.
Quoted by Rekha Chowdhary in "A Woman’s Journey in Kashmiri Politics," Oxford University Press Blog, April 19, 2015.
Interviewed in My Grandmother Died a Sad Woman Tehelka, February 2015.
Opinion: "Home and Hearth," Nyla Ali Khan, Globeistan, September 25, 2014.
Opinion: "Akbar Jehan and the Dialectic of Resistance and Accommodation," Nyla Ali Khan, OUPblog, July 15, 2014.
Opinion: "Freedom of Expression Vital for J&K's Journey," Nyla Ali Khan, Globeistan, January 8, 2014.
Opinion: "Dr. Muhammad Iqbal - Poet/Philosopher/Politician," Nyla Ali Khan, Globeistan, December 18, 2013.
Opinion: "Questioning Narratives or Expressing Animus?," Nyla Ali Khan, Gobeistan, December 4, 2013.
Opinion: "The Valley without a Vision," Nyla Ali Khan, International News, November 26, 2013.
Opinion: "No Women Leaders? No Peace in Region.," Nyla Ali Khan, The Norman Transcript, October 29, 2013.
Opinion: "Military and Democracy," Nyla Ali Khan, Civil Service of Pakistan's CSS Forum, October 13, 2013.
Opinion: "A Welcome Change," Nyla Ali Khan, Gulf Today, October 10, 2013.
Opinion: "How Women Activists Can Help Jammu and Kashmir Make Progress in Democracy and Peace," Nyla Ali Khan, Tulsa World, September 30, 2013.
Interviewed in "Academician Calls on Guv," Tribune India, July 15, 2013.
Interviewed in "Nyla Ali Khan on Kashmir," Epilogue, January 26, 2010.


"The Life of a Kashmiri Woman: Dialectic of Resistance and Accomodation" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).
Provides a feminist biography of Akbar Jehan Abdullah - the author's grandmother - and her role in the modern history of her country.
"Muslim Women and Violent Protest: Kashmir" in Encyclopedia of Women & Islamic Cultures, edited by Suad Joseph (Brill Online, 2014).
Discusses the ways in which Kashmiri women created oppositional and nonessentialist narratives that forged new niches in society through the pathways of multilayered identities and inclusiveness. The multiple narratives of Kashmiri women disrupt the notion of Kashmiri women as voiceless repositories of tradition
The Parchment of Kashmir: History, Society, and Polity (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012).
Collects essays from Kashmiri scholars of all disciplines to underline the repercussions of India's anti-democratic strategies, delineate the fundamental structural inequities in the Jammu and Kashmir polity, and analyze the effects of nationalist, militant and religious discourses and praxes. Offers a panorama of key cultural concerns of Jammu and Kashmir today, from the military aspects of the Kashmir conflict to the modern-day revival of indigenous cultural institutions.
"Islam, Women, and Violence in Kashmir: Between India and Pakistan" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010).
Examines the seminal spiritual and political role of women in Kashmir, while also highlighting the plight of Kashmir generally as a gnarled bone of contention between India and Pakistan; gives an insider's analysis of the effects of nationalist, militant, and religious discourses and praxes on a gender-based hierarchy.
"The Land of Lalla-Ded: Politicization of Kashmir and Construction of the Kashmiri Woman" Journal of International Women’s Studies 9, no. 1 (2007): 22-41.
Analyzes the recorded poems and paradigmatic sayings of Lalla-Ded, a Sufi mystic, to retrieve the rich details of her life that have been relegated to the background in the documented version of history. Discusses the radical political and socioeconomic changes in the role of Kashmiri women between 1947 and 1989.
"Citizenship in a Transnational Age: Culture and Politics in Amitav Ghosh’s ‘The Shadow Lines’" in Amitav Ghosh’s The Shadow Lines: A Critical Companion, edited by Murari Prasad (Pencraft International, 2007).
Argues that Amitav Ghosh is critical of the putative historical and religious necessity to forge a unified nationalist identity. At the same time, Khan argues that the resurgence of cultural and religious fanaticisms in certain transnational communities negates Ghosh’s utopian view of differences, despite its historical basis.
"The Fiction of Nationality in an Era of Transnationalism" (Routledge, 2005).
Critiques the nostalgic support of subversive elements by the affluent diaspora from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh by focusing on the representation of South Asian life in the works of four Anglophone writers: V.S. Naipaul, Salman Rushdie, Amitav Ghosh and Anita Desai.