Assistant Professor of Anthropology

Institutional Affiliation

University of Northern Colorado
Department of Anthropology


Ph.D., University of California, Irvine in Anthropology

M.A, California State University, Fullerton in Communication

M.A., University of Kashmir, Mass Communication and Journalism

Research Interests

Human Rights; Political Anthropology; Gender; State terror; Muslim women social movements and activisms; engaged and applied anthropology; ethnographic poetry; anthropology of Kashmir region

CAS Speaker Bureau Topic(s)

Gender, Human Rights, enforced disappearances, militarization, State terrorism with focus on Indian administered Kashmir; political and cultural anthropology of Kashmir

Regional and Thematic Interests

Kashmir region; India and Pakistan; political  & socio-cultural anthropology; ethnographic poetry


Ather Zia has a doctorate degree from the Department of Anthropology at the University of California at Irvine. She also has two Masters Degrees; one in Communications from California State University Fullerton and another in Journalism from Kashmir University. Currently she is an Assistant Professor in the Anthropology Department and Gender Studies Program at University of Northern Colorado Greeley.

Ather has been a journalist with BBC World service. She has also done a brief stint as a civil servant with the Kashmir government which in a lighter vein she refers to as her *pre-pre-preliminary fieldwork*. She is a published author and columnist. Her essays and creative work including fiction and poetry have appeared in a variety of magazines. She has also published her first collection of poems titled “The Frame.” In 2013 she won the second prize for ethnographic poetry on Kashmir from the Society for Humanistic Anthropology (American Anthropological Association). She is the founder-editor of Kashmir Lit, a digital journal based on writings on Kashmir. She has been elected to the board of Society of Humanistic Anthropology (SHA) of the Anthropological Association of America (2015-2016) and is also the book review editor "elect" (2017), for the Anthropology News (Association for Feminist Anthropology Section). In 2011 she co-founded Critical Kashmir Studies, an interdisciplinary network of scholars working on the Kashmir region. In addition to scholarly endeavors the group strongly focuses on applied and engaged anthropology projects.

Ather is currently finishing her book, which is to be published by Washington University Press (Book Series on Decolonizing Feminisms: Antiracist and Transnational Praxis). Her ethnography is based on her doctoral research on enforced disappearances, militarization, gender, and human rights abuses in the Indian administered Kashmir. Amongst other reputed institutions the Wenner Gren foundation, American Association of University Women, International Peace Research Association Foundation, and Human Rights Center of Berkeley have supported her research.

Ather’s other major writing projects include co-editing a reader on Kashmir titled “They Gave Us Blood': Narratives of Normalcy, Sacrifice, and Terror in Kashmir," a non-fiction anthology based on ethnographic narratives of politics in Kashmir with Harper Collins and an anthology of ethnographic poetry based on her fieldwork in Kashmir titled, “Field In-verse.”

Ather is also the founder/editor of e-zine based on Kashmir titled Kashmir Lit at Follow her latest blog at Huffington Post,

Selected Publications


The Politics of Absence: Women Searching for Men in Kashmir. Under advance contract with University of Washington Press (Book Series on Decolonizing Feminisms: Antiracist and Transnational Praxis).

Ethnographic Kashmir between 1947-1989. Under contract with Harper Collins. Co-editor Javaid Iqbal Bhat,

They Gave Us Blood: Normalcy, Sacrifice, and Terror in Kashmir. University of Pennsylvania Press. Co-editors, Duschinski, Haley, Mona Bhan, and Cynthia Mahmood, editors.

Under review: Field-inverse: Ethical Surfeit in Kashmir. an ethnographic poetry collection, Under review.

The Frame: An Anthology of Poem 2001. J&K Cultural Academy of Arts and Languages.

Academic Essays & Reviews

“The Spectacle of a Good-Half Widow: Performing Agency in the Human Rights Movement in Kashmir.” Fall 2016 to Political & Legal Anthropology Review.

“The Hanging of Afzal Guru: The Killable Kashmiri Body and Necropolitics in India.” In They Gave Us Blood: Normalcy, Sacrifice, and Terror in Kashmir, edited by Haley Duschinski, Mona Bhan, Ather Zia, and Cynthia Mahmood. Under review at University of Pennsylvania Press.

“Postcolonial Nation-Making: Warfare, Jihad, Subjectivity, and Compassion in the Region of Kashmir.” Essay review of Body of Victim, Body of Warrior: Refugee Families and the Making of Kashmiri Jihadists by Cabeiri Debergh Robinson and Counterinsurgency, Democracy, and the Politics of Identity in India: From Warfare to Welfare? by Mona Bhan. India Review 13(3): 300-311.

“Politics of Absence: Women in Search of the Disappeared in Kashmir.” Anthropology News

Review of Contesting Feminism: Gender and Islam in Asia by Huma Ahmed-Ghosh. International Feminist Journal of Politics.

 Review of The Life of a Kashmiri Woman: Dialectic of Resistance and Accommodation by Nyla Ali Khan. Voices: A Publication of the Association for Feminist Anthropology.

 “Enforced Disappearances in Kashmir: The Case of Fateh Jaan.” In Of Occupation and Resistance - Writings from Kashmir - an Anthology. Westland Publishers.

“The Ex-Fighter Returns.” Ethnographic poem in Anthropology and Humanism 39(1).