Faiz Ahmed Assistant Professor of History

For the 2016-17 academic year, Professor Ahmed is on sabbatical and a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow at the American Research Institute in Turkey.

Trained as a lawyer and social historian, Ahmed’s primary research explores constitutional movements, student and scholarly networks, and rule of law projects from the Ottoman Empire to Afghanistan during the long 19th century. His forthcoming book Afghanistan Rising: Islamic Law and Statecraft between the Ottoman and British Empires (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. 

Brown Affiliations

scholarly work


Afghanistan Rising: Islamic Law and Statecraft between the Ottoman and British Empires  (Harvard University Press, Fall 2017).


“Contested Subjects: Ottoman and British Jurisdictional Quarrels in re Afghans and Indian Muslims.” Journal of the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association 3:2 (2016): 325-246.

“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.

“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, educational networks; migration and transnationalism; Ottoman Empire and Turkey; Afghanistan, India, and the Persianate world; the Middle East and the Americas; ethics and politics of knowledge production on Islam, Muslims, and the Middle East.