Faiz Ahmed Assistant Professor of History

Faiz Ahmed is Assistant Professor of History at Brown University. Trained as a lawyer and social historian, Ahmed’s primary research explores constitutional movements, student and scholarly networks, and rule of law discourse from the Ottoman Empire to Afghanistan during the long 19th century. His current book project Constituting Afghanistan (with Harvard University Press, 2017) presents the first transnational study of Afghanistan’s legal history by examining the confluence of Afghan, Ottoman, and Indian Muslim jurists in modern Kabul. He is a recipient of fellowships from the Fulbright Program, National Endowment for the Humanities, Social Science Research Council, and Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for his research in Afghanistan, Turkey, Egypt, India, and the UK. 

Professor Ahmed is on sabbatical for the 2016-17 academic year.

Brown Affiliations

scholarly work


Constituting Afghanistan: Law, Statecraft, Pan-Islam  (tentative title, under contract with Harvard University Press forthcoming 2017).


“In the name of a Law: Islamic Legal Modernism and the Making of Afghanistan’s 1923 Constitution.” International Journal of Middle East Studies 48 (2016): 655-677.

“Contested Subjects: Ottoman and British Jurisdictional Quarrels in re Afghans and Indian Muslims.” Journal of the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association 3:2 (forthcoming 2016).

“Istanbul and Kabul in Courtly Contact: The Question of Exchange between the Ottoman Empire and Afghanistan in the Late Nineteenth Century.” Osmanlı Araştırmaları: The Journal of Ottoman Studies 45 (2015): 265-296.

“The Forgotten Anniversary: 10/7 and America’s Longest War.” Jadaliyya (October 8, 2011).

"Shari'a, Custom, and Statutory Law: Comparing State Approaches to Islamic Jurisprudence, Tribal Autonomy, and Legal Development in Afghanistan and Pakistan." Global Jurist 7 (2007): 1-56.

"Afghanistan's Reconstruction, Five Years Later: Narratives of Progress, Marginalized Realities, and the Politics of Law in a Transitional Islamic Republic." Gonzaga Journal of International Law 10 (2007): 269-314. *Winner, UC Berkeley Center for Middle Eastern Studies Best Published Paper (2007).

"Judicial Reform in Afghanistan: A Case Study in the New Criminal Procedure Code." Hastings International and Comparative Law Review 29 (2005): 101-141. *Honorable Mention, Chief Justice Roger J. Traynor Legal Writing Competition (2006).

research overview

Modern Middle East and Islamicate world; legal and constitutional history; students, scholars, and educational networks; migration and transnationalism; Ottoman Empire; Afghanistan before 1979; Islam in Turkey and the Persianate world; the Middle East and the Americas.