Rai Saad Khan

Congratulations to recent graduate Rai Saad Khan (2017, Christ Church) who has been awarded the 2020 undergraduate dissertation prize by the Royal Geographical Society's Development Geographies Research Group for his paper titled, 'Lahore's Performative Statehoods: A study of the form and practices of statehood of the Walled City of Lahore Authority in Pakistan'.

"My dissertation studies the role of the urban environment in shaping the political practices and sovereignty of the newly established Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA) in Pakistan. The WCLA is responsible for preserving and 'upgrading' the historic urban core of Lahore following decades of neglect and governmental 'abandonment'. As such, my dissertation looked at how the local state in Pakistan overcame issues of weak capacity and extensive 'informality', characteristic of 'developing' areas, through a larger performance of ability. In particular, it explored how statehood can become embroiled in producing an 'aesthetic governance' or discourse which is as much about performing functionality and order, as it is about embodying and delivering these values."

The Development Geographies Research Group (DevGRG) is one of more than 30 research, study and working groups in the Royal Geographical Society (with Institute of British Geographers). The Group in conjunction with Routledge offers the annual prize for the most promising dissertation concerning 'Development Geographies' and the author of the winning dissertation receives £100 worth of Routledge books of their choice.

"I am very delighted to have received the Undergraduate Dissertation Prize from the Developing Geographies Research Group of the RGS. Working on this dissertation, and the entirety of my time at SoGE, has been the greatest pleasure."

Saad is currently enrolled on the Graduate Diploma in Law at BBP University, London and hopes to go on to pursue a career in law or public policy.