James Pickett


James Pickett focuses on empire and Islam as entangled sources of authority, with particular attention to historical memory and state formation.

A manuscript in progress, Polymaths of Islam: Scholars and Knowledge Networks in a Eurasian Cosmopolis, examines transregional networks of exchange among religious scholars in the Central Asian city-state of Bukhara. Through mastery of arcane disciplines, these multi-talented intellectuals enshrined their city as a peerless center of Islam, and thereby elevated themselves into the halls of power.

A second book project, Seeing Like a Princely State: Protectorates in Central and South Asia at the Nexus of Early Modern Court and Modern Nation-State, will compare Bukhara's transformation into a Russian protectorate with the Indian princely state of Hyderabad's parallel trajectory into semi-colonial status. It is especially concerned with cultures of documentation in relation to the state.