I am an Assistant Professor of Environment and Peace Studies at the Keough School of Global Affairs, University of Notre Dame. During 2022-23, I am a Member at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University. Previously, I was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Anthropology and the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University. I completed my PhD in Anthropology at the University of Chicago. You can contact me at mhayat* at-sign* nd* dot* edu

My research develops a conversation between the anthropology of environment, bureaucracy and law, and is animated by postcolonial critique. My current book manuscript, Ecologies of Water Governance in Pakistan: The Colony, the Corporation and the Contemporary, is based on my doctoral dissertation, which won the 2019 S.S. Pirzada Best Dissertation in Pakistan Studies Award. A dissertation chapter, “The Gender of Corruption: Bureaucrats, Bodies and the Female Complaint,” received the 2018 Sylvia Forman Award for an Outstanding Graduate Paper.

I teach classes on statecraft, environmental politics, and climate change, as well as on community-engaged research.

My research and teaching have been supported by the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and the American Institute of Pakistan Studies; the Pozen Center for Human Rights, the Committee on Southern Asian Studies, the Nicholson Center for British Studies, and the Leiffer and Orin William Fund at the University of Chicago; and the Haas Center for Public Service and Stanford Arts at Stanford University.


(2022) “Storage As Security: Damming Water in Pakistan.” Virtual Forum on Populist Ecologies. Political Geography (pdf)

(2020) “The Bureaucrat’s Wage: (De)valuations of Work in an Irrigation Bureaucracy.” Anthropology of Work Review, XLI (2): 86-96 (pdf)

(2020) “Introduction” to Special Issue (with Adam Sargent and Waqas Butt), Between Work and Labor: Valuing Action in South Asia. Anthropology of Work Review, XLI (2): 71-75 (pdf)

(2020) “Price.” Anthropocene Unseen: A Lexicon. (eds. Anand Pandian and Cymene Howe). Punctum Books (pdf)

(2019) “The Knot of Ecological Time: An Outlet, An Election and An Irrigation Office,” Ecological Times, Engagement, Anthropology and Environment Society. November 12, 2019.

(2019) “Empire’s Accidents: Law, Lies and Sovereignty in the ‘War on Terror’ in Pakistan,” Critique of Anthropology, 40 (1): 49-80 (pdf)

(2019) “States, Elections and the Promise of Newness: Thinking with Pakistan’s 2018 General Election,” Fieldsights, Society for Cultural Anthropology. April 8, 2019.

(2018) “Plumbing the depths in Lahore,” Anthropology News. March 15 2018.

(2009) “Still Taming the Turbulent Frontier? The State in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan”, Journal of the Anthropological Society of Oxford, 1 (2): 179-206.