58 Bluestone Drive
Harrisonburg, VA 22807
Professor of history
The Middle East and South Asia.

Professor of history


B.A., University of Wisconsin-Madison

Ph.D., University of Michigan

Fields and Specialties

Middle East, South Asia and Central Asia, principally since 1500;

economic and social history,

and cultural and historical anthropology

Teaching Areas

Modern Middle East, Global South Asia,

Afghanistan, colonialism,

and world history

Research Interests

Afghanistan, the Persianate World, Pashto,

colonialism, nationalism, tribal history, nomadic societies,

Islamic urbanism, historical linguistics, migration, diasporas,

identity formation, cartography, photography,

animal and environmental studies


Social Science Research Council,

Council of American Overseas Research Centers,

American Historical Association,

American Institute of Afghanistan Studies,

Asian Development Bank,

Carnegie Corporation of New York

Select Publications and Presentations


Connecting Histories in Afghanistan (Gutenberg-e 2008, Stanford 2011)

Mountstuart Elphinstone in South Asia (Hurst 2017)

Journal Articles

The Pashtun Counter Narrative (Middle East Critique, 2016)

Shah Shuja’s Hidden History (SAMAJ, 2012)

Impoverishing a Colonial Frontier (Iranian Studies, 2004)

Book Chapters

“A History of Linguistic Boundary Crossing within and around Pashto” in Beyond Swat (Hurst & Columbia, 2013)

“Quandaries of the Afghan Nation” in Under the Drones (Harvard, 2012)

“Henry George Raverty and the Colonial Marketing of Pashto,” in Knowing India (Yoda [New Delhi], 2011.

“A Genealogy of Orientalism in Afghanistan” and “Producing Pashtunistan” (forthcoming 2017)

The Mountstuart Elphinstone Project



Elephants in Afghanistan (Bangalore, India, 2016)

Afghanistan’s Photographic Heritage (British Museum, 2014) 

Mapping Afghanistan (South Asia Studies, University of Pennsylvania, 2014)


Founding Coordinator, Middle Eastern Communities and Migrations Interdisciplinary Minor 

Advisor, South Asian Students Organization

Faculty Initiator, South Asian Studies Minor-in-Formation

Committee Member, South Asia Council of the Association for Asian Studies

Additional Information and Publications

Dr. Hanifi was interviewed by Madison Magazine  

and Be the Change at JMU 

Short Essays

Shi’ism in Contemporary Afghanistan in AHA Perspectives

Orientalism in Contemporary Afghanistan in E-International Relations 

Colonial Knowledge in Contemporary Afghanistan at the Middle East Institute 

Full Essays

Camels in Nineteenth-Century Afghanistan and Australia

History of Pashto Printing and Resistance to Print


Photography and Orientalism in Morocco

The Hawala System and the Afghan Diaspora

Encyclopedia Entries

Encyclopedia of Islam

Kakar, Suleyman Khel, Zhob (published),

Durrani, Dust Muhammad, Jalalabad, Kabul History (forthcoming)

Encyclopaedia Iranica 


Indian Merchants in Nineteenth-Century Afghanistan


Kandahar in the Nineteenth Century (published),

Ahmad Shah Durrani and Timur Shah Durrani (forthcoming) 

Back to Top