Manan Ahmed

Assistant Professor of History

Columbia University

Heyman Center Fellow 2016-17

Project Description:

Manan Ahmed’s current book project Universalizing Hindustan is a work on philosophy of history. The theoretical crux of the book lies with the epistemic rupture brought about during the colonial period. How was Muslim production of history made partisan, theological or sophist and de-legitimized as intellectual production? What does a critical philosophy of history look like for contemporary South Asia? Unarguably history was, and remains, the most hegemonic of all social sciences for modern South Asia and Universalizing Hindustan will answer the question of how that came to be. During his fellowship year as a Heyman Fellow, Ahmed made progress on his fourth chapter which focused on 19th century histories of Sindh (in Persian, Urdu, and Sindhi). He workshopped the essay with his colleagues and received thoughtful and engaged feedback which allowed him to finish the essay and submit it for publication over the Spring 2017. The essay was published in Fall 2017 in History Compass– a premier, peer-reviewed journal.

Manan Ahmed is interested in the relationship between text, space, and narrative. His work on Islam’s arrival to Sindh in the 8th century traces the longue durée history of contestations among varied communities in South Asia. His areas of specialization include political and cultural history of Islam in South and Southeast Asia, frontier-spaces and the city in medieval South Asia, imperial and colonial historiography, and philology. He is involved in Digital Humanities projects - especially with visualizing space in medieval texts and texualizing medieval and early-modern maps. Ahmed is currently working on a study of the early 13th century account of Uch, Sind. His articles can be found at Academic Commons.