Manan Ahmed

Manan Ahmed

Assistant Professor

502 Fayerweather Hall


Ph.D. – University of Chicago, 2008
B.A. – Miami University, Ohio 1997
B.Sc. – Punjab University, 1991

Service AY '16-17

Departmental: Graduate Admissions Committee, Ottoman Search Committee, Bulliet Search Committee,
Summer School Co-ordinator

University: Junior Faculty Advisory Board, EPPC Evaluation Sub-Committee, EPPC Tenure Teaching Evaluation Sub-Committee

Interests and Research

Manan Ahmed, Assistant Professor, is interested in the relationship between text, space and narrative. His areas of specialization include intellectual history of Islam in South and Southeast Asia; frontier-spaces and the city in medieval South Asia; colonial and post-colonial North India and Pakistan. His monograph, A Book of Conquest: The Chachnama and Muslim Origins in South Asia (Harvard University Press, 2016) is an intellectual history of a text— the early thirteenth century Persian history called Chachnama— and a place— the medieval city of Uch Sharif in southern Punjab, Pakistan. From the vantage point of that text and space, the book presents a vision of being Muslim in South Asia over this longue durée, while resisting the narratives of ‘foreign-ness’ and ‘otherness’ that assemble around the Indian Muslim subject. His current research is a comparative, global project that focuses on seventeenth century histories of conquest and their relationship to the emergence of “World History” (Weltgeschichte) in the nineteenth century. He is also finishing a book on space and memory of early modern Lahore.

He is involved in Digital Humanities projects-- and is the co-founder of the Group for Experimental Methods in the Humanities at Columbia. His work in Digital History focuses on spatial and textual understandings of medieval past— a recent collaborative project is "Delivering post by foot in medieval north India” and another project is based on digitization of manuscript materials.


Manan Ahmed teaches a survey of South Asia from medieval to the early modern period in the Fall semseter. His regular courses are "Worlds of Mughal India," "Borderlands: Towards the Spatial History of Empire," "Walking & Colonialsm." He incorporates a Digital History Lab with most of his courses and is currently developing a Lab course on the sixteenth century chronicle of Mughal India, the Akbarnama. The syllabi for the various courses are available here.

Selected Publications

Manan Ahmed Asif and Anand Vivek Taneja, “Introduction to Ethics, and Enchantment in South Asia and the Middle East” Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East Vol. 35, No. 2, 2015.

Manan Ahmed Asif, "A Demon With Ruby Eyes." The Medieval History Journal, October, 2013; 16 (2).

Manan Ahmed Asif, "Advent of Islam in South Asia" in Roger Long (edited), History of Pakistan, (Karachi: Oxford University Press) April, 2014.

Manan Ahmed Asif, "Idols in the Archive." The Journal of Asian Studies, February, 2014: 73(1).

"Future's Past" in Adil Najam and Moeed Yusuf (edited) South Asia 2060, (London: Anthem Press) July, 2013.

"The Long Thirteenth Century of the Chachnama." The Indian Economic and Social History Review, 49, 4 (2012): 459-91.

"Introduction," The Indian Economic and Social History Review, 49, 4 (2012): 455-57.

"Adam's Mirror: The Frontier in the Imperial Imagination" in Rohit Chopra (edited)Reflections on Empire Redux, EPW vol. XLVI, no. 13, March-April, 2011.

Where the Wild Frontiers Are: Pakistan and the American Imagination. Just World Books, 2011.