Hana Shams Ahmed is a PhD candidate (ABD) at the Department of Social Anthropology at York University, Canada. Her research centers around Indigenous Peoples, militarization, violence, transnational activist networks and the postcolonial state. Her dissertation research, supervised by Dr. Shubhra Gururani, explores how the Jumma Indigenous peoples who live under constant state surveillance, militarization, and threat of violence engage with the discourse and practice of filing petitions to the state. The research seeks to gain an understanding of how the Jumma struggles, like that of indigenous peoples globally are anchored in land, and how the power dynamics between the state and Indigenous groups transpires through written petitions. Her research is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC).
Hana has MA in sociocultural anthropology from the University of Western Ontario (2017) and an MA in development studies from BRAC University, Bangladesh (2014). Her MA research looked at tourism and state violence on Indigenous People’s land in Bangladesh. Before entering academia, Hana worked in Bangladesh for 15 years, first as a journalist and later as a human rights advocate. At the Daily Star newspaper of Bangladesh, she worked in the capacity of a feature writer and later as an editorial assistant and Assistant Editor of the news magazine, Forum. Later she joined as the coordinator of the International Chittagong Hill Tracts Commission (CHTC). She has collaborated with Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs and other international human rights organizations during her advocacy work with the CHTC. Her work has appeared in The Daily Star, New Age, Dhaka Tribune, Himal Southasian.