Dr Asad Zaidi

Dr Asad Zaidi

IRD Fellow

Department of International Relations

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English, Urdu
Key Expertise
IR Theory, War studies, Global Cold War, empire, and anti-imperialism

About me

My research reflects on the history of war, empire and world order. I am working on the historical relationship between Pakistani society and its global Cold War encounters. Before starting my PhD, I read History and Political Science for my BA at Birmingham University and Middle East Politics for my MSc degree at The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). Beyond academia, I have also worked in research, charities, universities and documentary filmmaking.

I have taught in the LSE IR department where I have also worked as a deputy editor for the Millennium Journal of International Studies, been a member of the IR502 International Theory Workshop and inaugurated the IR Roundtable conferences. Previously I have coordinated the LSE IR504 Research Workshop on Statecraft and Security, and the Pakistan Critical Studies Reading Group at SOAS. I am also a member of the Colonial / Postcolonial / De-colonial Working Group of the British International Studies Association.

Research topic

I am a researcher of empire, war and the struggles for world order. My thesis examined the encounter between Pakistani social forces and the Cold War and illuminates the ways in which this encounter defeated a superpower and reshaped world politics. Rather than thinking of this relationship within dominant security studies perspectives, I reimagine these relations through their historical, imperial and transnational dimensions. In so doing I investigate the dynamics between Pakistani state and social forces and their struggles within Cold War and Decolonisation politics.

Much of my work deals with the strategic and socio-political features of this history, including transnational interconnections between South Asia and the Middle East, anti-colonial and Muslim politics and Cold War geopolitics. More broadly, my work seeks to interrogate Postcolonial Nationalism and Euro-centrism in international political thought, opening up the connections between war, empire, hierarchy and anti-colonial thought as components of global modernity. I have wider interests in imperialism and anti-imperialism, the politics of the Middle East and South Asia, Islamic political and international thought, as well as international relations theory, global historical sociology and postcolonial theory.

My scholarship uses these inter-disciplinary approaches between history and theory to rethink the connections between contemporary ruptures in the prevailing international system, with preceding politics of empire, hierarchy and conflict. In this way it seeks to understand modern power politics in relation to the histories of the non-European world, to excavate the relational and global dimensions of International Relations.

Teaching experience

IR205 International Security (LSE)
IR305 Strategic Aspects of International Relations (LSE)
IR315 The Middle East and International Relations Theory (LSE)

Academic supervisor

Professor Tarak Barkawi


Transnational imperial and anti-imperial politics; Pakistani social forces; history of political thought; theories of race and empire; histories of Decolonization and the Global Cold War; postcolonial relations and international politics in South Asia and the Middle East;  Internationalist politics in the Muslim world and the Global South; IR Theory, Euro-centrism in the social sciences; theories of global modernity and world history

Expertise Details

War; Empire; Global Power Politics; Anti-imperialism; Postcolonial Thought; Historical Sociology; Decolonisation; Race and World Politics; History and politics of the Middle East and South Asia; The Cold War