The Medical Epidemic: An Analysis of Pakistani Americans and Performative Professional Passion

Urmeen Mansoor

Authors:  Urmeen Mansoor, Dr. Jack Kugelmass

Faculty Mentor:  Dr. Jack Kugelmass

College:  College of Liberal Arts and Sciences 

Abstract

This research examines the overwhelming prevalence of Pakistani Americans in the pursuit of — or in the practice of — health related professions, and uses Performance Theory to understand the establishment and maintenance of a professional caste system in the Pakistani American diaspora community. The professional caste system stems from early reform movements in Colonial India that promoted the education of the wealthy Muslim Indians who would eventually become the founders of Pakistan. Following the Partition of India in 1947, proximity to the Hindu caste system resulted in the explicit creation of a professional caste system in Pakistan, as outlined in specific clauses in its constitution. My research focuses on the Association of Physicians of Pakistani descent of North America (APPNA) and why such a niche organization has grown exponentially over the past four decades, and how the majority of a demographic can claim to have a passion for healthcare. Through first hand participation in APPNA, interviews, and observation of various Pakistani Americans, I argue that the professional caste system migrated from Pakistan to America with the diaspora, and that the systems of professional division and division are evident in the tendency of Pakistani Americans to pursue medical professions.

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Rachel Cathey
Rachel Cathey (@guest_4578)
1 year ago

Wonderful presentation Urmeen! Your argument of the Pakistani caste system applying to the makeup of the modern American physician is well-discussed.

Wafaa
Wafaa (@guest_5302)
1 year ago

Awesome presentation! Such an important topic that is rarely discussed.

Hajra
Hajra (@guest_6444)
1 year ago

Amazing work Urmeen! I love how you highlight the connection between social status in Pakistan and post-immigration mentality. Having experienced both firsthand, this is definitely a concept which holds true and makes a great deal of sense.

Hannah Calderazzo
Hannah Calderazzo (@guest_6606)
1 year ago

Hi Urmeen! Your research is fascinating, and you do a great job of presenting it. While I understand that you conclude that the concentration of Pakistani-Americans in healthcare derives from the residual influence of the caste system, what do you think is the particular reason for healthcare being chosen as the distinct profession?

Hannah Calderazzo
Hannah Calderazzo (@guest_6630)
1 year ago

Hi Urmeen! Your research is fascinating, and you do a great job of presenting it. While I understand that you conclude that the concentration of Pakistani-Americans in healthcare derives from the residual influence of the caste system, what do you think is the particular reason for healthcare being chosen as the distinct profession?