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 2008Stanford 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 (Printed)

“A Genealogy of Orientalism in Afghanistan:  The Colonial Image Lineage” (Brill, forthcoming 2018)

“A Book History of An Account of the Kingdom of Caubul” (Hurst, forthcoming 2018)

“Producing Pashtunistan in British India, Kabul and the United States” (I.B. Tauris, forthcoming 2018)

“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.

 Book Chapters (Online)

Elephants in Afghanistan:  Surveying the History of a Pachyderm Frontier

 Photography and Orientalism in Morocco

 Camels in Nineteenth-Century Afghanistan and Australia

 History of Pashto Printing and Resistance to Print

 The Hawala System and the Afghan Diaspora

 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 

 Encyclopedia Entries

Encyclopaedia Iranica 


Indian Merchants in Nineteenth-Century Afghanistan


Kandahar in the Nineteenth Century (published),

Ahmad Shah Durrani and Timur Shah Durrani (forthcoming) 

Encyclopedia of Islam

Kakar, Suleyman Khel, Zhob (published),

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


The Ethnic Map of Afghanistan:  Historical Origins and Political Consequences (the University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2017) 

 Wood and Water as Environmental Pathways for Globalizing and Re-Localizing Afghanistan Studies (St. Petersburg State University, 2017)  

 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 

 Faculty Initiator, South Asian Studies Minor-in-Formation

Member, South Asia Council of the Association for Asian Studies (2017-2020)

 Member, Board of Trustees of the American Institute of Indian Studies (2017-2020)

 Additional Scholarly Activity and Interviews

The Mountstuart Elphinstone Project

 Dr. Hanifi was interviewed by Madison Magazine and Be the Change at JMU, the American Institute of Indian Studies, and the History Channel 

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