Neelam Khoja is a historian of trans-imperial and trans-regional early modern and modern Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India. Her research interests include political and social history of Muslim empires and nation-states within the Persianate zone from the 16th-20th centuries. Khoja received her doctorate from Harvard University in Histories and Cultures of Muslim Societies from the Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations department and holds Master’s degrees in Islamic Studies from Claremont Graduate University and Harvard Divinity School. At Yale, she will work on her first monograph, tentatively titled, Known Geographies: Afghan Sovereigns, Space, and Society in Eighteenth-Century Iran and Hindustan. The book situates Afghans within the context of Safavid and Mughal decline and rise of European imperialism during the long eighteenth century. The monograph examines questions of migration, space, ethnic identity, and constructions of sovereignty through Afghan histories, genealogies, and poetry alongside non-Afghan histories, memoirs, travel literature, and administrative records written in Braj, French, Dutch (in translation), Persian, Punjabi, and Urdu. The book argues for a new theory of Eurasian land migration, called “known geographies” within the Persianate zone that transgresses modern nation-state boundaries.
Dr. Khoja’s research has been generously supported by numerous grants, including Fulbright, American Institute of Pakistan Studies, American Institute of Iranian Studies, American Institute of Afghanistan Studies, and Harvard University’s Graduate Society of Fellows, South Asia Institute, and Asia Center.