Asad Zaidi

Asad Zaidi

PhD candidate

Department of International Relations

Connect with me

English, Urdu
Key Expertise
Empire, International Relations Theory, Postcolonial Thought

About me

I am a PhD student and ESRC scholar 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 publishing, research, charities, alumni relations and documentary film making .

I teach as a Graduate Teaching Assistant in the LSE International Relations department where I have also worked as a deputy editor for the Millennium Journal of International Studies and attend the IR502 International Theory Workshop. 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

My work is interested in rethinking the relationship of Pakistan, empire and the Cold War, in transnational rather than national terms, towards understanding the relationship between global historical processes underpinning international politics, and the social forces of postcolonial societies engaged in mutually-constitutive relations between Global North and South. It is concerned with relating histories of Decolonization, the Cold War and Muslim West Asian political transformations through the lens of Pakistani inter-societal conflict over its international identity. Through the lens of the struggles between Pakistani leftist, nationalist and religious right wing factions, the project asks how did Pakistani social forces, seemingly peripheral to great power struggles in most accounts, become important to superpower rivalry, regional conflict in the Muslim world and the Afghan-Soviet War.

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 also seeks to interrogate Euro-centrism in international theory, and open up the connections between war, empire and international hierarchies as components of global modernity. I have wider interests in imperialism and anti-imperialism in the Global South, the politics and international relations of the Middle East and South Asia, Islamic political and international thought and movements, as well as international relations theory, global historical sociology and postcolonial theory.

My scholarship uses interdisciplinary approaches between history and theory a to rethink the connections between contemporary ruptures with the prevailing international system, and preceding international politics of empire, hierarchy and conflict. In this way it seeks to understand them 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)

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