Ali Humayun Akhtar

Ali H. Akhtar


Religious Studies

Assistant Professor

Hedge Hall, Room 212

Classical and Medieval Studies

Ph.D., History and Middle Eastern Studies, New York University; B.A., Cornell University.

Ali Humayun Akhtar is an historian of government, religion, and economy. His research examines networks of diplomats, scholars, and merchants who connected Mediterranean Europe with the Middle East and Central Asia in the medieval and early modern eras. His first book traces the political debates over Graeco-Arabic philosophy and Sufism from Cordoba to Cairo (10th-12th centuries) as a larger window into the fluid nature of political and religious authority in the medieval world. Dr. Akhtar is currently working on a new book on law and economy along the Safavid and Ottoman silk routes to Venice (16th-17th centuries), investigating in particular the legal status of diplomats and merchants in the Iranian Armenian community of Esfahan, the Ottoman Latin-rite community of Istanbul, and the Jewish communities of Istanbul and Crete. He is completing this project while on leave as a Robert M. Kingdon Fellow in Judeo-Christian Studies in the Institute for Research in the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Before arriving at Bates College, he taught at Bard College and New York University.