KPU Surrey Campus – Fir 128
Televising Islam: family life, everyday ethics, and piousness in Pakistani TV dramas
This public lecture discusses the immense popularity of Pakistani TV dramas locally and globally. What about these drama serials resonates so much with audiences? KPU instructor Elliot Montpellier discusses his research on these dramas’ depictions of daily life including family, romance, and piety. He shares what he’s learned from his ethnographic work situated between Karachi, Pakistan, Metro Vancouver, and in digital spaces where drama fans interact with drama content. He thinks across these overlapping virtual and physical worlds to consider how media production, reception, and the impact of the Internet are shaping religious community identity in South Asia and the South Asian diaspora. He argues that we should focus more on this everyday and overlooked site of religion-making. He talks about visual elements and “religion-adjacent” subjects — a category articulated by a leading industry figure — to discuss Islam through topics that elude government censorship and public outcry.
Bio: Elliot Montpellier joined KPU in Fall 2021 and teaches in the Asian Studies and Anthropology departments. He is a cultural anthropologist and a dual-degree Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Anthropology and the Department of South Asia Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. He completed his MA in Islamic Studies from McGill University. He is currently completing his dissertation on the Pakistani television drama industry.