Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
University of Leeds
Website URL
International history, South Asia, borderlands, Afghanistan, Pakistan, decolonization, global Cold War
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

I am a scholar of twentieth-century international history. I trained as a historian at Yale University and the University of Cambridge, where I completed my PhD in 2013. Since then, I have held a three-year Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at Royal Holloway, University of London, before taking up a permanent position as Lecturer in International History at the University of Leeds in 2016.

My research focuses on the intersections between South Asian and international history. I look at state-building in postcolonial India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan and these countries’ interactions with foreign powers such as the United States and Great Britain. I am particularly interested in borderlands as spaces of contested sovereignty where local non-state actors come into conflict with state authorities and foreign interests. I am broadly interested in the global Cold War; the U.S. in twentieth-century world politics; empire and decolonization; borderlands studies and non-state actors; and nationalist and identity politics.

My first book is a history of the northwest frontier tribal area of the Indian subcontinent (what is now Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Area) in the context of decolonization and the global Cold War. It considers why this region has remained largely autonomous in the twentieth century, as well as why the region has persisted in interesting state actors in South Asia and the West.

I currently am working on an international history of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and a comparative study of borderlands autonomy movements and state-building across the decolonizing world.

Recent Publications


The Defiant Border: The Afghan-Pakistan Borderlands in the Era of Decolonization, 1936-1965 (New York; New Delhi: Cambridge University Press, 2017)

with Leslie James, eds., Decolonization and the Cold War: Negotiating Independence (London: Bloomsbury Academic Press, 2015)


‘Afghan Internationalism and the Question of Afghanistan’s Political Legitimacy’, Afghanistan: The Journal of the American Institute of Afghanistan Studies 1, no. 1 (2018): 68-94

‘At the Nation-State’s Edge: Centre-Periphery Relations in Post-1947 South Asia’, The Historical Journal 59, no. 2 (June 2016): 509-39

‘British India versus the British Empire: The Indian Army and an Impasse in Imperial Defence,
c. 1919-39’, Modern Asian Studies 48, no. 1 (January 2014): 301-29

‘Spooks, Tribes, and Holy Men: The Central Intelligence Agency and the Soviet Invasion of
Afghanistan’, Journal of Contemporary History 53, no. 1 (2018): 240-62

‘The Great Game Anew: US Cold War Policy and Pakistan’s North-West Frontier, 1947-65’, International History Review 35, no. 4 (2013): 783-806

with Daniel Haines, ‘Lines of (In)Convenience: Sovereignty and Border-Making in Postcolonial South Asia, 1947-1965’, Journal of Asian Studies 76, no. 4 (2017): 963-85

with Daniel Haines, ‘Introduction’, Contemporary South Asia, special issue on ‘South Asia and its wider worlds’ 23, no. 1 (March 2015): 3-6

with Daniel Haines, eds., Contemporary South Asia, special issue on ‘South Asia and its wider worlds’ 23, no. 1 (March 2015)

Book Chapters

‘’Abd al-Ghaffār Khān’, Encyclopaedia of Islam, Third Edition (Brill Online, 2015)

‘Elphinstone and the Afghan-Pathan Elision: Comparative British and American Approaches in the Twentieth Century’, in Mountstuart Elphinstone in South Asia, ed. Shah Mahmoud Hanifi (London: Hurst & Co.), forthcoming

‘On Asian Borders: The Value of Comparative Studies’, in Decoding the Sino-North Korean Borderlands, eds. Adam Cathcart, Christopher Green, and Steven Denney (University of Amsterdam Press), forthcoming

‘Ronald Reagan and the Crisis of Southwest Asia’, in Reagan’s World: The Cold War and
, eds. Jonathan Hunt and Simon Miles (Cornell University Press), under review

‘The United States and Afghanistan: An Economic and Political Impasse, 1945-2015’, in A Companion to U.S. Foreign Relations, Colonial Era to the Present, ed. Christopher Dietrich (Wiley-Blackwell), forthcoming

with Leslie James, ‘Introduction’, Decolonization and the Cold War: Negotiating Independence (London: Bloomsbury Academic Press, 2015), 1-17

Media Coverage
Country Focus
Afghanistan, Pakistan, India
Expertise by Geography
Asia, India, United States
Expertise by Chronology
20th century, 21st century
Expertise by Topic
Colonialism, Diplomacy, Military, Politics, Rebellion & Revolution