Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Kultur-, Sozial- und Bildungswissenschaftliche Fakultät - Institut für Asien- und Afrikawissenschaften

Dr. Arshi Javaid

Dr. Arshi Javaid
Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin am Bereich Gender and Media Studies for the South Asian Region (GAMS)
arshi.javaid (at)

Dr Arshi Javaid is currently an Einstein Junior Scholar (2023-2025). Prior to this, she has been a critical residency fellow with Academy in Exile, Freie Universität Berlin, where she compiled several first-person narratives about as to how `Everydayness of life between Kashmiri Muslims and Kashmiri Pandits before 1989' existed. Before her academic journey brought her to Berlin, she earned her PhD from Jawaharlal Nehru University on Contestation of ‘Self’ and ‘Other’ in Kashmiri Nationalism where she looked at the civic and ethnic dimensions of Kashmiri Nationalism.


Her broader research interests are Gender, Violence and Conflict in South Asia, conflict and memory.

Description of Dr. Javaid's current research project, funded by the Einstein Foundation Berlin


Yaadgah-a memory archive for the old city of Srinagar in the Kashmir Valley


Yaadgah (abode of memories) aims to undertake an exercise where past and contemporary become key modalities to engage with the old city of Srinagar in Kashmir. The city is undergoing transformations in terms of architecture, infrastructure, ownership and demographic patterns; motivated by the interests of state, capital and private players. Through this project, the alternate forms of living and the memory of the city will be upheld against a new narrative that makes this transformation appear positive and acceptable. The new discourse obliterates a lived heritage of hundreds of years, a history of arts and crafts, a vision of living and dwelling together. In Srinagar, the rise of ‘urban’ and ‘newness’ is fused with a sensorium of a political language. One could observe the rapid tempo of patterns that are being reproduced mechanically and digitally. Each day new digital media expose the city and its dwellers like commodities. Often reproducing misrepresentations, these practices violate people by creating knowledge that is harmful and turns the represented into a mute spectator. Another essential argument that this project focuses on who owns the city or who does the city belong to? The question is also linked to the idea what kind of social ties, relationships to nature, lifestyle technologies and aesthetic values people desire over what is being imposed on them. The right to city is far more than an individual liberty to access urban resources; the freedom to imagine and reimagine cities is far more central.


However, imagining cities is an act of invoking past, present and future and here is where Yaadgah’s role comes in. It aims to intervene with past, present and future through the memories. Cities serve as mnemonic aids, they remind us of our memories, both individual and collective but they also spur people to investigate broader societal maps they don’t yet fully know. Whether one refers to collective memory, social memory, public memory, historical memory, cultural memory in its collective forms, to give themselves a coherent identity, a national narrative. Needless to say, memories and identities are often contested, hence the place of varied standpoints at Yaadgah. Given the questions of scale, this project is limited to Srinagar.


Using multiple practices like first-person narratives, photos and videos, poetry and prose, the project aims to generate engagements and discussions against the erasure of memory and lived heritage of the city. The participatory research design of the project invites stakeholders, residents of the city, poets and artists to create engagement by holding on to their memory of the city. The project intends to create value in the lived heritage of the old city and city as a source of identity for its dwellers.


List of Publications


  • "Seduction of the Old City of Srinagar: An Enquiry into Competing Narratives of Belonging." Dastavezi, no. 5, 2023, pp. 96-110 (open access).


  • "The Sadness of Goats." Dwelling Together: Urban Housing, Neighborliness and Multilocal Homemaking, 2023. RePLITO Digital Knowledge Archive (open access).



  • “Ambiguity of Concealment: Forgotten Stories from Jammu Massacre in Displacement and Citizenship”. Histories and Memories of Exclusion. Edited by Vijaya Rao, Shambhavi Prakash, Mallarika Sinha Roy and Papori Bora, 2020, pp. 262-277.


  • “Top Down Peace-Building in Kashmir,1989-2014. [Journal of North-East Region- A peer reviewed interdisciplinary research Journal, (April 2018, Issue 6 Vol 1) (ISSN -2321-0583)].

Heritage as Placemaking Podcast Series
Episode 6, Dec 2023
Dr. Arshi Javaid: Erasure and the Old City of Srinagar
With hosts Dr. Sabin Ninglekhu and Prof. Dr. Christiane Brosius