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My name is Haris A. Durrani. I am a Dominican Pakistani American Muslim (don’t ask me about the order), an engineer, a writer, an academic, and an aspiring lawyer. In 2015, I graduated from Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science in NYC, where I was an Egleston Scholar and Co-Founded The Muslim Protagonist Symposium. I majored in Applied Physics and minored in Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies (MESAAS). I used to build robots at Columbia and at Dean Kamen’s FIRST competitions in middle and high school. I really love robots. I worked with satellites for a time at Boeing and researched space debris for a year with NASA astronaut Mike Massimino. I did an M.Phil. in the History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge. Right now, I’m at Columbia Law School. My published fiction, memoirs, academic articles, and op-eds explore personal narratives at the nexus of law, technology, and disenfranchised identities, particularly in Latino and post-9/11 contexts.
My first book, Technologies of the Self, from Brain Mill Press won the 2015 Driftless Novella Prize. It contains sex, drugs, and bachata. Also violence. And this dude who’s a time-travelling demonic conquistador. He’s “the realest f–ing space knight I ever saw,” according to the narrator’s uncle. The story is a characterization of modernity. It’s about law and the state, movement and history, love and robots, plátanos and re-enchantment (wait, those aren’t the same thing?).
I’ve been doing two things as long as I can remember: building robots and writing. I’m interested in law, technology, and history. Space law would also be fun. I’m inspired by Isaac Asimov, Junot Diaz, Octavia Butler, Edward Said, Ted Chiang, Bill Nye the Science Guy, and Kismet the robot, whose creator Cynthia Breazeal was my middle school crush. When I grow up, I would like to live on Gliese 581 g, if it exists.
When I was ten, I thought it would be cool to combine all of my linguistic identities into one word. English! Spanish! Urdu! Arabic! Engspurdishabic! In high school, I decided to create a blog accordingly and justified this rash move with ideas about pluralism that I also thought were cool. Now I think it’s cheesy. Tomorrow I might change my mind. Either way, for now at least, I’m stuck with the URL.