Waqas Butt

Waqas Butt

Waqas Butt
Assistant Professor, Scarborough Campus (UTSC)

Office: AP 217

Research Keywords: Infrastructures, The State, Governance, Development, Cities, Political Economy, Work and Labor, Value, Materiality, Caste, Pakistan, South Asia

Research Bio

My research interests focus on the intersections of caste, infrastructures, and development across South Asia. Based on long-term ethnographic fieldwork in Lahore and the Punjab, my current book project examines the ways in which waste workers, who come from low or non-caste Hindu backgrounds, become an essential component of urban life in cities such as Lahore through the everyday and intimate workings of waste infrastructures. This work brings together a variety of concerns – materiality and labor, uneven development and capitalism, and regional histories of governance, technology, and value – to unpack the fraught socio-political processes by which unexpected possibilities for life are currently unfolding in cities across South Asia and globally.

Major Awards and Grants

2015 American Institute of Pakistan Studies, Short-term Lecturing and Research Fellowship

2014 Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, Dissertational Research Grant


2017 “Distributing Destruction: Construction, Waste, and Atmospheres in Lahore,” City: analysis of urban trends, culture, theory, policy, action.