Within the ambit of Social Anthropology, Dr. Zaman’s research interests are ethnicity, identity, ethnic conflicts, anthropology of performance mainly dance, visual anthropology, gender studies and social institutions.
Her quest with the study of identity and ethnicity began while she was working on her doctoral thesis on “Odissi Dance and The Construction of Oriya* Identity”. In her doctoral work she had looked at identity as perceived and constructed by the Odia community. The struggle to enlist Odissi dance as a classical dance form of India brought together the intelligentsia and the dance gurus of Odisha. The creation of ethnic identity was seen in the reconstruction of the dance form. The gestures and postures from the walls of the Konark temple, the dances of the Maharis (temple dancers known as Devadasi in other parts of India) of Jagannath, Puri and the Gotipua (male dancers dressed in female attires) were reconstructed to give shape to the dance repertoire. In the years to follow she had taken forward the study of ethnicity and identity in her research works on autoethnography. Her auto-ethnographical accounts extensively dealt with the idea of ethnicity and identity, how it has been constructed within the Muslim communities living in Assam.
A President’s Awardee for service as a girl guide, she also holds a bachelor’s degree in Odissi Dance.