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 modern Middle East. Trained as a lawyer and social historian, Dr. Ahmed’s primary research explores the intersection of student and scholarly networks, constitutional movements, and “rule of law” discourse from the Ottoman Empire to Afghanistan during the long nineteenth century. His current book project presents the first transnational study of Afghanistan’s early constitutional history by uncovering the role of Ottoman Turkish, Afghan, and Indian jurists in producing the state’s founding national charter. He is a recipient of fellowships from the Fulbright Program, Social Science Research Council, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and American Research Institute in Turkey for his research in Afghanistan, Turkey, Egypt, Britain, and India.

Brown Affiliations

scholarly work


“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 Case of 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 2016).

"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).

Co-editor and co-translator, with Natalie Rea, Karim Khurram, and Muhammad Asem. The Customary Laws of Afghanistan. New York: ILF, 2004.

research overview

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