Department of Anthropology

Honorary Staff - Dr Estelle Dryland

Contact Details

Position: Honorary Associate anthropology-staff-dryland


Location: C3A 605
Consultation Hours:
(during semester)
Thursday 2-5
Telephone: +61-2-9850-9458
Fax: +61-2-9850-9955
Other Email:
Postal Address: Department of Anthropology
Faculty of Arts
Macquarie University
NSW 2109


See academic profile

Graduated PhD 1999

Thesis Topic: Poetry and Identity: Aspects of Cultural Dominance and Cultural Survival among the Muhaajirs of Pakistan

In order to produce the thesis I spent a total of two and a half years in Pakistan, mainly in the troubled city of Karachi. Some of this time I spent at Karachi University studying the Urdu language. My thesis deals with the Urdu-speaking North Indian Muslims (known as muhaajirs) who migrated to Pakistan in 1947 following the Partition of India. It examines the ongoing civil unrest in Karachi through various genres of Urdu poetry, the way in which the Urdu language and literature - specifically poetry - have become effective symbols of muhaajir group identity, and the way in which muhaajirs value their language as a core aspect of their sense of self. Particular emphasis is placed upon the notion that the political and social circumstances of the muhaajir community cannot be elucidated without reference to the Urdu language and its literature.

Following graduation in 1999, I proceeded to Baltistan (Disputed Territory lying north east of Kashmir administered by Pakistan) where I taught English to the hospital staff at the Kuwaiti-sponsored Marafie Hospital in Mehdiabad, Kharmang valley. The origins of the Balti people remain unknown. However it is known that they were converted from Buddhism to Shi'a Islam some 500 years ago. Prior to this they were followers of Bon shamanism. In 2000 I returned to Skardo (Baltistan) where I spent five months working on a Balti version of the famous Tibetan Bon epic 'The Kesar'. I am returning to Baltistan July 1st to undertake further work on the Kesar epic. Those interested can access for further information regarding Skardo.

In addition to conducting research, I function within the Division as a sub-editor of Masters and PhD theses.