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Aliya Khalid


Affiliated Lecturer

Teaching and Research Associate

E-mail Address


+ 44 (0)7940742036


  • PhD in Education, Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, UK (Gates Scholar)
  • Master of Public Policy and Administration, Institute of Management Sciences, Peshawar, Pakistan

Membership of Professional Bodies/Associations

  • Comparative and International Education Society (CIES)
  • British Sociological Association (BSA)
  • International Studies Association (ISA)
  • British Association for International and Comparative Education (BAICE)
  • Human Development and Capabilities Association (HDCA)
  • European Association for South Asian Studies (EASAS)

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Aliya has a PhD in gender, education, and development from the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge. Her research focuses on how mothers in the South navigate their agency in highly constrained circumstances. She has drawn extensively on the Human Development and Capability Approach in her work. Her special areas of interest are 'negative capability' and epistemic paradoxicality. Her research interests lie in issues of epistemic justice and the promotion of knowledges (plural) and Southern epistemologies. She also co-convenes the MPhil Education, Globalisation and International Development seminar series entitled: 'The politics of knowledge building in education and international development' at the Faculty of Education. The seminar aims  to generate conversations around the politics and hegemonies of global knowledge production systems.

Academic Area/Links


1. 'Understanding the impact of COVID-19 on learning experiences of secondary school going age children among Bangladeshi and Pakistani ethnic minority families'
Project summary:
COVID-19 related school disruption and closures have significantly impacted the lives of students. Notably, these disruptions have had a multi-fold impact on children living in ethnic minority families. Although ethnic and racial inequalities are persistent across contexts, this project particularly engages with young adults and other family members belonging to Bangladeshi and Pakistani ethnic minority families living in England. Children in these families have been uniquely affected by the pandemic (Bayrakdar & Guveli, 2020), given the higher rates of prevalence of COVID among these communities and also greater and persistent structural inequalities.

Bangladeshi and Pakistani ethnic minority families have been identified as a focus of this research because firstly, these particular groups have been strongly impacted by COVID (Platt & Warwick, 2020; Trivedy et al., 2020) and secondly, their socio cultural specificities make them more susceptible to disadvantage during COVID related school closures (Bayrakdar & Guveli, 2020). Our particular focus is on secondary school children whose learning has been majorly disrupted due to national lockdowns and uncertainty regarding national assessments.

Therefore, this project aims to address the unique situation and experiences of these BAME families with secondary school age children to understand how COVID-related challenges are shaping their learning experiences, household dynamics and future aspirations.

This is an exploratory, small scale project but will fill an important gap in existing knowledge by taking a strong cultural lens to understanding how learning among Bangladeshi and Pakistani families could be supported, drawing on a deeper understanding of their lived realities and contextualised understanding of the challenges they face. The aim is not simply to reproduce a deficit discourse (which tends to be associated with families from these ethnic minority groups), but to understand family dynamics and the opportunities offered herein.

Funded by:

Cambridge Humanities Research Grants Scheme

Research team:

Professor Nidhi Singal and Dr Aliya Khalid

2. 'Bridging the Local and Global: Women’s Spaces and Collectives'

Project summary:
While globalisation aims to connect the world equitably, global perspectives are often privileged over the local. Often the voices of women from the South (metaphor for marginalised) are least heard. This project acknowledges that any ‘Global’ ideology of (Dis)order needs to include local women’s voices by studying how they have generated order/disorder to create ‘spaces of action’/reflection (defined as collectives). We propose a multi-phase, multi-method study of women’s ‘collective spaces’. We first explore how ‘collectives’ have been understood. We will learn from women themselves by conducting two interview based case studies on (i) access to reproductive healthcare (Northern Ireland/Ireland) and (ii) mothers’ collective experiences of educating their children during a pandemic (ethnic minority families in England). In bringing together law and education, archives and interviews, reproductive healthcare and education, this project offers a novel way of understanding - and recording - collective responses to local/global challenges.

Funded by:

Virtual Sandpits, The British Academy

Research team:

Dr Aliya Khalid, Dr Jane Rooney and Dr Ruth Houghton

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Research Topics

  • Gender and agency, gender and development, girls’ education, women’s agency, capability approach, feminisms
  • Hegemonies of knowledge production and epistemic justice
  • Southern theories, epistemologies and methodologies

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Principal and Recent Publications

  • Khalid, A. (23 October 2017). ‘Do you see what I see? Prompts from a mother.’. Retrieved from
  • Khalid, A. (8 May 2017). ‘Like mother, like daughter’, a conversation with Mrs. Yousafzai about raising Malala Yousafzai under conditions of extreme violence. Retrieved from

Journal articles in preparation:

  • Khalid, A. (forthcoming). ‘Hearing their silences: Mothers agency as they support their daughters’ education in rural Punjab Pakistan’, Gender and Education.
  • Khalid, A., & Rose, P. (forthcoming). Mothers’ Capability to Influence their Daughters’ Education in Pakistan: Interconnections between mothers’ value of education, negative capability and agency. Journal of Human Development and Capabilities.

Conference papers:

  • Khalid, A. (2021). ‘The art of hearing: Mothers (women) as They Support Their Daughters (girls)’ Education in Rural Punjab Pakistan’. Accepted contribution to the International Studies Association annual convention. April 6-9, online.
  • Khalid, A. & Rose, P. (2019). ‘Mothers’ (women’s) Ability to Shape their Daughters’ (girls’) Education in Rural Pakistan: Negative capabilities and the claiming of agency’. The Human Development and Capabilities Association Conference, September 9-11, The Institute of Education, University College London, UK.
  • Khalid. A. (2019). ‘I am, because I can: Mothers (women) as they shape their daughters’(girls’) education in Pakistan’. Invited contribution to a panel, Families and relationships, at the British Sociological Association Conference, April 24-26, Glasgow Caledonian University, Scotland.
  • Khalid, A. (2019). ‘Capable Mothers (women) and Their Daughters’ (girls’) access to education’ Gender Committee 64th Comparative and International Education Society Conference, April 14-18, San Francisco, USA.
  • Khalid, A. (2018). ‘The Importance of Families in Education: Mothers’ (women’s) Strategies for their Daughters’ (girls’) Education’, The British Association for International and Comparative Education Conference, September 12-14, University of York, UK.
  • Khalid, A. (2018). ‘Gender and education: Maternal (women’s) aspirations in a rural village in Pakistan’. Presented at the 25th European Conference on South Asian Studies, The Centre for South Asian Studies, July 24-27, Paris, France.