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Said Reza Huseini

Dr Said Reza Huseini
Research Fellow

Said Reza Huseini specialises in Indo-Persian and Islamic history in the connected regions of Khurasan and North India over the longue durée, from Late Antiquity to the early modern era. His research is based on a wide range of documentary and literary sources in Persian, Middle Persian, Bactrian, Sogdian and Arabic. He graduated from Jawaharlal Nehru University, where he studied the history of medieval Central Asia and early modern India. He continued his research at Leiden University, completing his second MA and writing a thesis on millennialism in Mughal India. He then joined the European Research Council project “Embedding Conquests” and completed his PhD Dissertation on Arab Muslim Conquests of Bactria. He is currently a research fellow and works as part of the King’s Silk Roads Project. His research focuses on the Mongols in Persian Discourse: Continuity and Changes 1252-1582

Current Projects:

(Under Contract with Edinburgh University Press)

The Arab Conquest of Bactria: Local Power Politics and Arab Domination (651–750 CE)


The Mongols of Mughal History: Imagining World Empire in Sixteenth-Century India


  1. Edited Volume or Journal Special Issue (peer reviewed)

2023- With Jelle Bruning, eds., “Textual Sources and Geographies of Slavery in the Early-Islamic Empire, ca. 600-1000 CE.” Journal of Slavery & Abolition Special Issue (136 manuscript pages.) https://doi.org/10.1080/0144039X.2023.2264110

  1. Articles and Book Chapters (peer reviewed)

2024- With Jos Gommans. “New Dawn in Mughal India: Longue Durée Neoplatonism in the Making of Akbar’s Sun Project.” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1356186323000664 

2024- “Between the Arabs and the Turks: Household, Conversion and Power Dynamics in early Islamic Bactria (700–772 CE).” In The Ties that Bind: Mechanisms of Social Dependency in the Early Islamic Empire, edited by Petra M. Sijpesteijn and Edmund Hayes. Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2024.

2024- “The pre-Mongol city of Balkh as seen by its residents: a report from the Fadaʾil-i Balkh,” in UNESCO Thematic Collection of Cultural Exchanges along the Silk Roads: Architecture, Monuments and Urbanism, edited by Elena Paskaleva and Michael Turner. UNESCO, Paris, forthcoming 2024

2023- “Slavery Represented in Bactrian Documents.” In Textual Sources and Geographies of Slavery in the Early-Islamic Empire, ca. 600-1000 CE, edited by Jelle Bruning and Said Reza Huseini, Special Issue, Journal of Slavery & Abolition. https://doi.org/10.1080/0144039X.2023.2264116

2022- “Thinking in Arabic, writing in Sogdian: Arab Sogdian Diplomatic Relation in the early eighth-century.” In From the Ruler of Samarqand to the Andalusian “Law of the Muslims”: Sogdian, Greek and Arabic Documents and Manuscripts from the Islamicate World and Beyond, edited by Andreas Kaplony and Matt Malczycki, 67–87. Leiden: Brill. https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004527874_004

2022- “The Rebellion of ārith b. Surayj (116–128/734–746): A Local Perspective.” Al-ʿUsur al-Wusā 30 (2022): 516–53. https://doi.org/10.52214/uw.v30i.9040

2022- With Jos Gommans. “Neoplatonic Kingship in the Islamic World: Akbar’s Millennial History.” In Sacred Kingship in World History: Between Immanence and Transcendence, edited by Azfar Moin and Alan Strathern, 192–222. Columbia University Press, Doi: 10.7312/moin20416-010

2022- With Jos Gommans. “Neoplatonism and the Pax Mongolica in the Making of Sulh-i Kull: A View from Akbar’s Millennial History.” Modern Asian Studies 56 (2022): 870–901. Doi: 10.1017/S0026749X21000044

2021- “The Muqaddam Represented in the pre-Mongol Persian Documents from Ghur.” AFGHANISTAN 4, no. 2 (2021): 91–113. Doi: 10.3366/afg.2021.0074

2021- “Acts of Protection represented in Bactrian Documents.” Annales Islamologiques 54 (2021): 107–124. Doi: 10.4000/anisl.7655

2020- “The Idea and Practice of Justice Represented in Bactrian Documents.” Association for Iranian Studies, Newsletter 41, no. 2 (2020): 28–31.

2013- “Medieval Tibet in Perso-Islamic Sources.” Journal of Himalayan and Central Asian Studies 18, no. 4, CHINA SPECIAL (2013): 251–283.

2012- “Destruction of Bamiyan Buddha: Taliban Iconoclasm and Hazara Response.” Journal of Himalayan and Central Asian Studies 16, no. 2, BAMIYAN SPECIAL (2012): 1550

2012- “Discovery of Bactro-Achaemenid Site in Northern Afghanistan.” Yavanika: India Society for Greek and Roman Studies 14 (Rohilkhand University, May 2012).

  1. Invited Comments and Opinion Essays (not peer-reviewed)

2020- “The Mughal Experiment with Islamic Extremism: A Sixteenth-Century Lesson for Today.” Leiden Islam Blog, Leiden University, available online https://leidenislamblog.nl/articles/the-mughal-experiment-with-islamic-extremism-a-sixteenth-century-lesson-for-today

2018- “Bactrian Documents: New Source for the early Islamic history of Tukharistan.” Humanities Common, available online https://emco.hcommons.org

2021- “Women in late Antique Bactrian Documents.” Leidenmedievalistsblog, available online https://leidenmedievalistsblog.nl/articles/women-in-late-antique-bactrian-documents

2021- “Thumbnail impression on clay sealings from early Islamic Bactria,” Material Cultures III, Humanities Common, available online https://emco.hcommons.org

2020- “Ownership notes in imperial Mughal codices.” Muse & Manuscripts: Lessons in codicology and Paleography, available online https://mouse.digitalscholarship.nl/lessons/babur


2023- “Tarikh-i Alfi: Mughal Millennial History,” Ancient India-Iran Trust, Cambridge, 10 November.

2023- “Slavery in Eastern Iranian Regions: the case of Late Antique Bactria,” The Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Institute of Iranian Studies, and Faculty of Music, University of Toronto, and Invisible East Project, Oxford, 16 October (Online).

2023- Chair and Discussant, History Panel, European Conference on Iranian Studies (ECIS 10), Leiden University, 24 August.

2023- “Form of Political Structure in the Late Antique Bactria,” European Conference on Iranian Studies (ECIS 10), Leiden University, 24 August.

2023- “Local Administration and Political Structure in Late Antique Bactria: Documentary Evidence,” State Documents from the Medieval Islamicate World, Trinity College, Oxford University, 21-23 June.

2023- “New Dawn in Mughal India: Longue Durée Neoplatonism in the Making of Akbar’s Sun Project,” Joint presentation with Jos Gommans for the conference on The Ethics of Idolatry: Sun and Cosmos Worship in Judaism and Islam, UT Austin, 17 April.

2023- “The Arab Muslim Conquests of Qum: Cooperation, Co-existence and the Rise of a New Urban Centre in Iran during the early Islamic Period,” Water & the Urban/Rural Nexus in the Medieval Islamic World, Radboud University, Nijmegen 30-31 March.

2023- “Tarikh-i Alfi: Akbar’s Millennial History,” Persian Impact on History, Literature and Culture of Central and South Asia, British Institute of Persian Studies and Institute of Language Studies and Research, Kolkata, 1-2 March.

2022- Chair and Discussant, Panel on Land Management and the Organisation of Production, A Hard Row to Hoe Conference, Oxford University, 12 December.

2022- “A Sixteenth Century Mongol Observation of Tibet: Mirza Haidar Dughlat and his Tarikh-i Rashidi,” Mongol and Inner Asia Studies Unit, Cambridge University, 15 November.

2022- “A Day in Late Antique Bactria,” (In Persian). For Invisible East Project, Oxford University, 13 October.

2022- “Local Political Autonomy and Overlordship in Late Antique Bactria,” Ahmad Shah Massoud: The Past, Present and Future of Afghanistan II, Emanuel College, Cambridge University, 22-23 September.

2022- “Zoroastrianism in Late Antique Bactria,” IV International Symposium of Young Scholars in the Humanities (ISYS), Ivane Javakhishvali Tbilisi State University, 29 May.

2022- “Slavery Represented in Bactrian Documents,” for Conference on Textual Sources and Geographies of Slavery in the Early Islamic Empire ca. 600-1000, Leiden University, Online Session on 3 March.

2022- “Mongol Nomads in Persianate Discourse,” King’s College, Cambridge University, 22 February.

2022- “Persian Documents form pre-Mongol Ghur,” Invisible East Project, Oriental Institute, Oxford University, 14 February.

2021- “Conquests and Trade in the Early Islamic East,” Networks and Ties of Exchange: Trade ND Merchants Across the pre-Modern Middle East (60-1000) Workshop Leiden University, 3 June.

2020- “Political Fragmentation in Central Asia on the eve of the early Muslim Conquests,” Online Symposium organized by the University of Bukhara, 27 April.

2019- “Between the Arabs and the Turks: The family of Mir b. Bek al-Bamiyāni in early Abbasid Bactria (750-772),” Ties that Bind Conference, Leiden University, 5 December.

2019- “Role of Bactrian local Elites in the Rebellion of Harith b. Suraij in Late Umayyad Khurasan (734-746),” Acts of Rebellion Conference, Leiden University, 7 November.

2019- “The Idea and Practice of Justice represented in Bactrian documents,” 9th European Conference for Iranian Studies, Freie Universität Berlin, 10 September.

2019- “The Idea and Practice of Justice represented in Eastern Iranian world in Late antiquity: The Case of Bactria,” Symposium Iranica, St. Andrews University, 12-14 April (could not attend because my Visa arrived later).

2019- “Early Muslim Patronage and its Impact on the Rise of Local Elites in the Early Islamic Bactria: The case of the Barmakids of Balkh,” NISIS Spring School, Granada, Spain 18-22 March.

2018- “Arab Sogdian Relations reflected in Documents of Mount Mugh,” International Institute for Central Asian Studies (IICAS), Samarkand, 27 September.

2018- “Thinking in Arabic, Writing in Sogdian: Arab Sogdian Diplomatic Relation in the Early Eighth Century Transoxiana,” The International Society for Arabic Papyrology (ISAP), Freie Universität Berlin, 21 March.

2018- “Shia-Sunni Ideological Conflict Represented in the 16th century Mughal Historiography: The Case of Tarikh-i Alfi,” Shia Studies Workshop, Leiden University, 16 November.

2017- “Marriage Regulations in the Eastern Iranian World in the Late Antiquity: The Documentary Evidence,” the Iranian World in Late Antiquity: A graduate Student Workshop, The Chicago Initiative for Global Late Antiquity, the University of Chicago Center in Paris, the Oriental Institute, and the EPHE Paris, 18 September.

2017- “Sixteenth Century Millennium and the Making of the Tarikh-i Alfi in Mughal India,” Global Nodes, Networks, Orders: Three Global History Workshops on Transformative Connectivity, Leiden University, 20 April.

Documentaries, Discussions (selected)

            20024 Understanding Today’s Afghanistan, Mare Newspaper, March 28. https://www.mareonline.nl/wetenschap/de-amerikanen-hebben-nooit-hun-lesje-geleerd/

            2024  A Night with Buddha Programme, organised by the Swedish Kulturhuset  Stadsteatern, Stockholm, March 10. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0FZUZARU_8

            2023- Influence of Buddhism on Islam (Ta’thiri Buddism bar Iran), BBC Persian Pargar17 June. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjZG-JpPb18&t=1554s 

            2023- History of Music in Iran (Sarguzasht-i Musiqi Iran), Part 2 Marjan TV Network (based in London), 6 February. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GI79GQmMZNA&t=3674s

            2022- History of Music in Iran (Sarguzasht-i Musiqi Iran), Part 1 Marjan TV Network (based in London), 19 April. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nuk04nTzIys&t=332s




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