Trained as a lawyer and social historian, Faiz Ahmed specializes in the legal and constitutional history of the Middle East and Islamicate world. From the Ottoman Empire to the British Raj, and the eastern Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean, Ahmed's primary research interests include student and scholarly networks, constitutional movements and state building, and international law and diplomacy.
His first book, Afghanistan Rising: Islamic Law and Statecraft between the Ottoman and British Empires (Harvard University Press, 2017), unearths a lost history of Muslim debates and exchange across regional divides by tracing the struggle of a diverse cast of jurists in winning Afghan independence and promulgating the country's first constitution between 1877 and 1923.
Ahmed's second book project, supported by a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship in Turkey, explores the history of relations between the Ottoman Empire and the United States—as seen from Ottoman perspectives. Based on work in the Ottoman state archives, Red Crescent Society, and other Turkish collections and fieldsites from Istanbul to New England, his current research uncovers the social, economic, and religious underpinnings of the Sublime Porte’s evolving interest in the American republic during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Professor Ahmed is a recipient of fellowships from the Fulbright Program, Social Science Research Council, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and Empirical Legal Studies program at UC Berkeley School of Law for his research in Afghanistan, Turkey, Egypt, India, and the UK. He is also co-organizer, with colleagues Michael Vorenberg, Rebecca Nedostup, and Emily Owens, of the Brown Legal History Workshop and Brown Legal Studies collaborative.