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Hafsah Siddiqui, BA (Hons), MA

Hafsah Siddiqui, BA (Hons), MA

PhD student

Urban-political geographer interested in informality, citizenship, and social movements in the Global South.



  • (2018-2019) Teaching Assistant, Department of Geography, University of Toronto. Course: Foundations of City Studies
  • (2016-2018) Research Assistant, Department of Sociology, University of Toronto


  • (2019) MA in Geography, University of Toronto
  • (2018) BA (Hons, with High Distinction) in Human Geography, Sociology, and Writing & Rhetoric, University of Toronto

Awards and scholarships

  • (2020) Philip Lake Fund, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge
  • (2019) Gates Cambridge Scholarship, Gates Cambridge Trust, University of Cambridge
  • (2018) Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Government of Canada
  • (2018) Sir Bertram C.A. Windle Graduate Scholarship, St. Michael's College, University of Toronto
  • (2018) University of Toronto Entrance Award, School of Graduate Studies, University of Toronto
  • (2018) College Silver Medal Award, St. Michael's College, University of Toronto
  • (2018) C.L. Burton Trust Fund In-Course Scholarship, St. Michael's College, University of Toronto
  • (2017) John Horner Undergraduate Scholarship in Geography, Department of Geography, University of Toronto
  • (2016) Outstanding Performance Award in Human Geography, Department of Geography, University of Toronto


Social segregation and political fragmentation are more pronounced now than ever before, particularly in cities of the Global South. My PhD research focuses on how political alliances can be employed as a tool for empowering the urban poor in the context of housing inequality and forced evictions from informal settlements in Pakistan. Specifically, my work investigates the cross-class solidarities that facilitate informal settlement dwellers' resistance to eviction, against the backdrop of state-driven urban redevelopment. I consider whether such coalitions can contribute to a more democratic political system by enhancing marginalised groups' claims-making abilities and helping them assert their status as legitimate urban citizens.

This empirical research contributes to the postcolonial call for non-Northern knowledge production within urban theorising, and highlights the complexities of 'overlapping' politics within practices of urban governance and mobilisation. The theoretical framework is informed by, and will ultimately contribute to, scholarly work in urban theory, urban social movements and claims-making, the politics of 'rights', and the concept of 'citizenship'.

Other research interests include the politics and history of urban planning, and qualitative research methods.


  • Siddiqui, H. (2019) 'Disgraced, dispossessed, displaced: Delhi's global city aspiration and the city's slum dwellers', The Toronto Urban Journal, 1(1), pp. 23-32.


  • Supervisor, Part IA People, Place and the Politics of Difference - Paper 1E Contemporary Urban Geographies (Lent 2020, Easter 2020)
  • Supervisor, Part IB Citizenship, Cities and Civil Society (Michaelmas 2020)
  • Supervisor, Part II Global Urbanism (Michaelmas 2019, Easter 2019)

External activities

  • (2020- 2021) Outreach Officer, Gates Cambridge Scholars' Council
  • (2019- 2020) First Year Human Geography PhD Co-Representative, Graduate Student Committee, Department of Geography
  • (2019- 2020) Member, Critical Approaches to 'Vulnerability' in Empirical Research (CAVER) group, Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities