Associate Professor of History
Member, Committee on Global Thought
Manan Ahmed, Associate Professor, is a historian of South Asia and the littoral western Indian Ocean world from 1000-1800 CE. His areas of specialization include intellectual history in South and Southeast Asia; critical philosophy of history, colonial and anti-colonial thought. He is interested in how modern and pre-modern historical narratives create understandings of places, communities, and intellectual genealogies for their readers.
His first monograph, A Book of Conquest: Chachnama and Muslim Origins in South Asia (Harvard University Press, 2016), is on the intellectual life of an early thirteenth-century Persian history Chachnama also known as Fathnama-i Sind (Book of the Conquest of Sindh). The book delves into how Muslim polities in Sindh addressed sacral differences, created new ethics of rule, and articulated a political theory of power in the thirteenth century Indian Ocean World.
His second monograph, The Loss of Hindustan: The Invention of India (Harvard University Press, 2020), tells a history of the historians of the subcontinent from the tenth to the early twentieth century. The book is a concept-history of “Hindustan,” focusing specifically on the work of the seventeenth century Deccan historian Firishta (fl. 1570-1620). In it, he argues for a decolonized philosophy of history for the subcontinent. The Loss of Hindustan was shortlisted for the Cundill History Prize 2021.
He is currently working on two book projects. One, under contract with The New Press, is on memory, history and historiography in Pakistan. The second is on decolonization as method and praxis for history writing.
He has extensive background in digital history, in the history of archives in the global south and the problems of access and control to digitized materials (see, e.g., the project Torn Apart/Separados, which focused on the humanitarian crisis on the southwestern border in Summer 2018). More recently, he co-published a data-analysis study–“Targeted Harassment of Academics by Hindutva: A Twitter Analysis of the India-US Connection.”
- The Loss of Hindustan: The Invention of India. Harvard University Press, 2020.
- Quarantined histories: Sindh and the question of historiography in colonial India- Part I. History Compass, 2017;15:e12403.
- Quarantined histories: Sindh and the question of historiography in Colonial India—Part II. History Compass. 2017;15:e12398.
- A Book of Conquest: The Chachnama and Muslim Origins in South Asia. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2016.
- “Advent of Islam in South Asia” in Roger Long (edited), History of Pakistan, (Karachi: Oxford University Press) April, 2014.
- Where the Wild Frontiers Are: Pakistan and the American Imagination. Just World Books, 2011.
- Ph.D., University of Chicago
- B.A., Miami University, Ohio
- B.A., Punjab University