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School of Politics and International Relations

Dr Layli Uddin


Leverhulme Early Career Fellow

Telephone: 020 7882 6910
Room Number: Arts One, Room 2.35A
Office Hours: Fridays 4pm-5pm (Online & F2F, email to book)


Layli joined QMUL in September 2021.  She is a political and social historian of modern South Asia, bringing together interdisciplinary questions on religion, class and mass politics.  Her research reconstructs subaltern political thought and movements in the context of decolonisation, state-formation and the Cold War.  Her broader interests are in liberation theologies and subaltern geopolitics in the Global South.

Before joining Queen Mary, she was a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the Department of Political Economy at King’s College London (2020-2021), Postdoctoral Fellow at Lahore University of Management Sciences (2019), and Curator of Two Centuries of Indian Print at the British Library (2016-2018).

Layli completed her PhD in History at Royal Holloway, University of London, in 2016. Her dissertation explored the political mobilisation of subaltern classes in the making and unmaking of Pakistan from the 1930s up to 1971.  She is currently working on her first book based on the PhD, Land of Eternal Eid: Making and Unmaking Pakistan, 1930s-1971.

She is on the advisory board of Jamhoor, a critical left media organisation; Bangladesh on Record, a digital archive project; and for Lokayoto Bidyaloy, a campaign and advocacy group in Bangladesh. She blogs at


Research Interests:

My research brings the history of political thought into conversation with sociology of religion and anthropology. In particular, I am interested in subaltern geopolitics; emancipatory politics; internationalism; social movements, Islam; Marxism; and microhistory. My work is across India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.

I am currently working on two projects.  My first book, Land of Eternal Eid, offers an alternative account of the formation of Bangladesh, focusing on the political mobilisation of poor peasants and urban working and their relationship to the subaltern leader, and an an unusually powerful Sufi saint, Maulana Bhashani from the 1930s up to 1971. I am also working on my Leverhulme project ‘Red Islam in South Asia’, a transnational study of Islamic Socialism from the 1919 Khilafat movement up to the 1978 Soviet-Afghan war. By tracing the travels of radical South Asian Sufi saints and their socialist experiments and struggles in Khyber Pakhtunwa, Bihar, and Bengal, I demonstrate how South Asian Islam connected to Bolshevik Russia, Maoist China, and Castro’s Cuba.

Examples of research funding:


2020-2023. Early Career Fellowship, Leverhulme Trust

2014-2015. Scouloudi Fellowship, Institute of Historical Research, London

2012-2013. Kluge Fellowship, John W. Kluge Centre, Library of Congress

2011-2014. PhD Scholarship, Arts and Humanities Research Council

2009-2011. Tun Mahathir Mohamad Scholarship, The Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, Oxford University


2018. Shortlisted for BRAIS-De Gruyter Prize 2018, awarded for best doctoral thesis in the study of Islam and the Muslim World, Apr 2018

2016. Honorable Mention for S.S Pirzada Dissertation Prize, Institute of South Asia Studies, University of California, Berkeley


Journal articles:

Hoek, L. and Uddin, L. On the Margins of the USIA/S Archive in South Asia. Journal of e-Media Studies. (forthcoming)

Uddin, L. (2020). A View From The Roof: Space and Politics in South Asia. Issues, 3(1), (doi:

Uddin, L. (2020). “Enemy Agents at Work”: The 1954 Adamjee and Karnaphuli Riots in East Pakistan. Modern Asian Studies,55(2), 629-664. doi:10.1017/S0026749X19000416

Sunder, D., & Uddin, L. (2007). A Comparative Analysis of Bangladeshi and Pakistani Educational Attainment in London Secondary Schools. InterActions: UCLA Journal of Education and Information Studies, 3(2). Retrieved from

Book chapters:

Uddin, L. Kagmari Festival, 1957: Political Aesthetics and Subaltern Internationalism in Pakistan. In Forms of the Left in Postcolonial South Asia: Aesthetics, Networks and Connected Histories, edited by Lotte Hoek & Sanjukta Sunderason. London: Bloomsbury Publishing.(forthcoming)

Book reviews:

2018 ‘The Makers and Shakers of India.’ (Review of Sunil Khilnani, Incarnations: India in 50 Lives.) History Workshop Journal, 85:1, pp. 345–351.

2011 Review of Jamal J. Elias’s ‘On Wings of Diesel: Trucks, Identity and Culture in Pakistan’, Ceasefire, 27/04/2011 (


Layli Uddin & Mir Rifat Us-Saleheen. Shahidul Zahir’s ‘Woodcutter and Crows’, Samovar, June 2018. (


2020. We are the 95%: Bhashani and Kagmari Festival. Daily Star, Bangladesh. (

2020. (Mao)-Lana Bhashani and Malcolm X: A Secret Revolutionary History. Raiot, India. (

2018 ‘Mao-Lana Bhashani of Assam, Bengal, Pakistan and Bangladesh’, Raiot, India. (

2018 ‘Mao-Lana Bhashani: Maoism and the unmaking of Pakistan’, Jamhoor. (

2015 ‘Maulana Bhashani: The Lessons of Freedom’, Daily Star, Bangladesh. (

Regular blogs on 

Public Engagement

Layli is on the advisory board of Jamhoor, a critical left media organisation, and for Lokayoto Bidyaloy, a campaign and advocacy group in Bangladesh. She blogs at

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