Faiz Ahmed Assistant Professor of History

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

Brown Affiliations

scholarly work


Constituting Afghanistan: Law, Statecraft, and Pan-Islam, 1877-1923  (under contract with Harvard University Press, 2017).


“In the Name of a Law: Pan-Islamic Legal Modernism and the Making of Afghanistan’s 1923 Constitution.” International Journal of Middle East Studies (forthcoming 2016/17).

“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.

“Ottomans, Mughals, and the Codification of Islamic Law: The Fatawa Hindiyya (1675) between Medieval Roots and Modern Legacies,” in Huricihan İslamoğlu and M. Safa Saracoğlu, eds., Justice, Statecraft, and Law: A New Ottoman Legal History  (under contract with Syracuse University Press, forthcoming 2017).

"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 (long 19th century); legal and constitutional history; late Ottoman Empire; Afghanistan before 1979; students, scholars, and educational networks; exile, migration, and diasporas; Mideast-South Asia borderlands; the Middle East and the Americas.