Dr. Noman Baig

Assistant Professor, Social Development and Policy
School of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Email: noman.baig@ahss.habib.edu.pk

Dr. Noman Baig is an Assistant Professor in Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. He finished his Ph.D. in Anthropology at the University of Texas (Austin).

The doctoral ethnographic research was conducted in Pakistan largest wholesale bazaar, Bolton Market, in Karachi, (2011-2013), and concentrated largely on customary monetary networks.  The dissertation focuses on the shaping of merchants’ subjectivity in Karachi’s contemporary marketplace. It does this by placing human experience within the matrix of the cosmological value system, driven to a large extent by Islamic moral and ethical principles, as well as everyday material conditions, determined by economic activity. In doing so, it brings together the material and spiritual in conversation with each other. This dissertation particularly focuses on the convergence of Sufi moral discourse and meditative practices of zikr/dhikr with globalized technologies of finance capitalism. It seeks to answer: How do the two seemingly different practices converge? Modern financial practices aim to discipline merchants into becoming economic subjects accumulating capital. In contrast, the spiritual tradition of Sufi techniques shapes this excessive desire for accumulating, through the meditation (zikr/dhikr), molding the merchants into charitable subjects. Being a self-maximizing as well as a self-annihilating individual in the market, the merchant is able to contain the larger structuring of money and moral universes in everyday life. The experience generated at the threshold of accumulation and charity, Dr Noman argues, gives rise to an affirmative subjectivity, which perceives the unity of existence the way it is.

Dr. Noman Baig is an experiential learner, knowing with existence, placing one’s existence alongside rhetorical/discursive knowledge. His current research explores the nature of consciousness arising directly from the Sufi practice of zikr/dhikr meditation, the radical negation and affirmation of one self by one self. The zikr practice places one’s intellect under erasure, suspends the thinking-I, and opens up a new possibility of an immediate experience of un-knowing, the ground of knowledge. This exhilarating research into the core of being has led him to a genre of meditative writing of Marcus Aurelius, Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, and Saint Augustine.


Aspiring Present: Breathing Life into the ‘City of Death,’ Handbook of Religion and the Asian Cities. (University of California Press: 2015).

“Mediating Belief and Senses: Dawat-e-Islami’s Emerging Madina of Visuality,” Visual; Pilgrim 2013.

Link: http://kjc-sv006.kjc.uni-heidelberg.de/visualpilgrim/demo/essay-detail.php?eid=19


  • Ph.D. in Anthropology, University of Texas (Austin), USA                        
  • M.A. in Political Science, University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
  • B.A. in Political Science, University of Central Oklahoma, USA

Courses Taught:

  • What is Modernity?
  • Hikma: The History of Islamic Thought
  • Perspectives in Social and Cultural Anthropology
  • Development and Social Change
  • Silent Stories of Pakistan

Research Interests:

  • Self and subjectivity, and interiority
  • Phenomenology, meditation, and experiential knowledge
  • Money and markets
  • Space and cities.