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Huma Kazi, Professor Robert Johnson, and Professor Brian Dunphy, The Scholars Program, Brooklyn College, 2900 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11210
Transnational communities often feature examples of the most contradicting values and traditions. The desire to assimilate into the larger society clashes with efforts to keep a homeland attachment alive. Focusing on transnational Pakistani-American communities specifically, this project examines the changing phenomenon of arranged marriages—which are still placed on the pedestal of unions, even in the land of romantic Hollywood movies and evolving love marriages. However, Pakistan itself has seen a modern shift in determining life partners. With the rising popularity of co-education, young men and women can easily transition from classmates to significant others. At the same time, jarringly, other communities in a country that is the epitome of progression remain still too afraid to date before marriage. The goal of my project is to understand the reality of that notion, to pick apart the complications, and to separate homage from ignorance. Straightforwardly, I wish to unveil how the concept of arranged marriages differ for young women and men in transnational Pakistani-American communities (in New York City) compared to those living in modern Pakistani communities (in Lahore). Using the information found in previous scholarly studies as a base, I will conduct one-on-one interviews in both New York City and Lahore. Rather than trying to develop a generalized idea of the majority in these two communities as was done in the past, the project will emphasize understanding arranged marriages from an individual’s perspective.