Dr Talat Ahmed (BA (Hons), MA, PhD, FRAS)

Senior Lecturer; South Asian History


I studied Sociology at the University of Leeds and then taught Sociology, Politics and History in Further Education for fifteen years before embarking on postgraduate study at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. I completed my Masters in South Asian Area Studies in 2002 and PhD in South Asian History in 2006. I have held lectureships in South Asian History at SOAS, 2006-2007; University of Leeds, 2007-2008; Goldsmiths College, University of London 2008-2011; and arrived in Edinburgh in 2011.

Undergraduate teaching

  • Gandhi and Popular Movements in India, 1915-1950 - Honours Special Subject
  • Postcolonial South Asia - Hoonours elective
  • Medieval Islamic Empires - Honours elective
  • Global Connections - Pre-Honours

Postgraduate teaching

  • Cinema and Society in South Asia - MSc

Current PhD students supervised

  • Dilan Tulsiani, PhD. 'League Against Imperialism and Transnational Surveillance Networks, 1927-36'. Primary Supervisor. 
  • Asma Naureen, PhD. 'The Punjab and Muslim nationalism, 1938-1947'. Secondary Supervisor. 
  • Ananya Krishna, MScR. 'Using Richard Burtons translations to explore the British colonial imagination and Indian sexology during the late nineteenth century'. Secondary Supervisor. 

Past PhD students supervised

  • Ankur Kakkar, MScR. 'Why did the Orientalists lose the Indian Education Debate of 1835?'. Secondary Supervisor. - 2013
  • Sandhra Samuel Samkutty, MScR. 'Ayahs, Memsahibs and the rule at home.' Primary Supervisor -  2019
  • Mark O'Connor, PhD. 'The Malayan Civil Service: The Evolving Role, Ideology and Complexion of an Administrative Elite at the Sunset of Empire, 1942 - 1957'. Secondary Supervisor - 2023

Research summary

My research interests broadly concern; the intellectual, cultural and political history of modern South Asia. Specifically, I am interested in the relationship between culture and society with reference to early twentieth-century literary and artistic movements and the role of intellectuals as public figures is helping to shape civic discourse on matters of state and society. My research interests include South Asian film and history and the uses of filmic sources as mediums through which to investigate the historicising, making and re-making of modern identities; pre-modern state formation and economic development in early and medieval India; Indian soldiers and the colonial experience of war; the 1960s and the South Asian encounter.


Summary of research interests


  • Asia


  • Comparative & Global History
  • Culture
  • Ideas
  • Imperialism


  • Early Modern
  • Eighteenth Century
  • Nineteenth Century
  • Twentieth Century & After

The list below is a subset of the information held on the University of Edinburgh PURE system, and includes Books, Chapters, Articles and Conference contributions. For a full list, including details of other publication types (e.g. reviews), please see the Edinburgh Research Explorer page for Dr Talat Ahmed.

Books - Authored

Ahmed, T. (2019) Mohandas Gandhi: Experiments in Civil Disobedience. London: Pluto Press DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctv9zcjmc

Ahmed, T. (2009) Literature and Politics in the Age of Nationalism: The Progressive Episode in South Asia, 1932-56. New Delhi: Routledge DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9780367817794


Ahmed, T (2023) Samaj and Swaraj: The relevance of Gandhi and Tagore for the twenty-first century, Gitanjali and Beyond. 9, pp. 8-27 DOI: https://doi.org/10.14297/gnb.9 

Ahmed, T. (2019) Gandhi: Rise of a revolutionary. All About History

Ahmed, T. (2019) Gandhi's legacy: Force of will. BBC World Histories

Ahmed, T. (2016) The British Empire and the First World War: The colonial experience. International Socialism, pp. 135-158

Ahmed, T. (2009) Gandhi: The man behind the myths. International Socialism

Ahmed, T. (2008) Writers and Generals: Intellectuals in the first Pakistan coup. Indian Economic and Social History Review, 45(1), pp. 117-151DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/001946460704500104

Ahmed, T. (2006) Realism in South Asian Cinema. Film International: Journal of World Cinema (Filmint), 4(6), pp. 40-47DOI: https://doi.org/10.1386/fiin.4.6.40

Ahmed, T. (2005) Mulk Raj Anand: Novelist and fighter. International Socialism


Ahmed, T. (2022) ‘The Brilliant Sun of Revolt’ rising in the East: Solidarity in Britain with the Uprising in Pakistan of 1968-69. In: Maasri, Z., Bergin, C. and Burke, F. (eds.) Transnational solidarity: Anticolonialism in the global sixties. Manchester University PressDOI: https://doi.org/10.7765/9781526161574.00018

Mulvey, G., Ahmed, T. and Clark, C. (2022) Race and migration in Scotland. In: Gall, G. (ed.) A New Scotland: Building and Equal, Fair and Sustainable Society. Pluto Press, pp. 195-206DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctv2k4fx0w.23

Ahmed, T. (2021) An enlightened anarchist: Gandhi’s relationship to anarchism. In: Beitzel, T. and Langare, C. (eds.) Rethinking Mahatma Gandhi: The Global Apraissal. Rawat Publications, pp. 1-17

Ahmed, T. (2013) The Politics of Islamophobia. In: Richardson, B. (ed.) Say it Loud!: Marxism and the Fight Against Racism. Bookmarks