Email Address
Kirner-Johnson 132

A historian of Islam, Usman Hamid specializes in the study of early modern South Asia and its connections with Iran, Central Asia, and the Indian Ocean world. His research explores the significance of material culture in cultivating devotion to the Prophet Muhammad in Mughal India with a particular focus on relics and pilgrimage.

Hamid’s research has been supported by the Social Science and Humanities Council of Canada. Previous to his work on Islam and religious materiality, he has published on the history of royal concubinage in late fifteenth century Iran and Central Asia and edited a collection of essays focusing on the circulation of Iranians in early modern South Asia.

He earned his masters from the Institute of Islamic Studies at McGill University and his doctorate from the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations at the University of Toronto.

Recent Courses Taught

Everyday Islam
Islamic History and Culture
Islam in South Asia
History of Iran
Islamic Spirituality, Mysticism, and Devotion
Art of Devotion: Visual and Material Culture of Islam

Select Publications

  • “Slaves in Name Only: Free Women as Royal Concubines in Late Timurid Iran and Central Asia.” Concubines and Courtesans: Women and Slavery in Islamic History, edited by Matthew S. Gordon and Kathryn Hain, 190-206. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017. 
  • “Circulation and Language: Iranians in Early Modem South Asia.” ed. Usman Hamid and Pasha M. Khan, Special section, Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 37, no. 3, 2017.

College Service

  • Asian Studies Committee, 2019–22
  • Middle East and Islamic Worlds Studies Committee, 2019–22

Professional Affiliations

American Academy of Religion

Appointed to the Faculty


Educational Background

Ph.D., University of Toronto
M.A., McGill University
B.A., McGill University

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