Taushif Kara

Taushif Kara is a PhD candidate in the Faculty of History at the University of Cambridge. His doctoral research focuses on the intellectual history of the Khoja diaspora around the Indian ocean world (ca. 1866 – 1972). Before coming to Cambridge, he studied Islamic history and philosophy at the Institute of Ismaili Studies in London and served as a Teaching Fellow in the Department of Religions and Philosophies at SOAS. He is a producer for the Interventions podcast and a former convenor of the Cambridge World History Workshop.

Taushif’s research, under the supervision of Prof. Sujit Sivasundaram, focuses on the intellectual history of the Khoja diaspora around the Indian ocean world. With their migration to eastern Africa in the nineteenth century as a vantage point, he situates the Khoja and their ideas within and against broader developments in African, Muslim, and Indian political thought during the colonial moment. Drawing on a range of archives, he is studying key terms of belonging, politics, and community and in doing so try to displace standard narratives of colonial knowledge and sovereignty.

He is also interested more broadly in migration, diaspora, and global intellectual history, particularly Muslim political thought in the twentieth century.


Paper 21: Empires and World History from the Fifteenth Century to the First World War

Paper 23: World History since 1914

Paper 30: Islands & Beaches: The Pacific and Indian Oceans in the long 19th century

Recent Publications

“Waiting for Revolution”, Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East (2022)


This essay takes as its point of departure the conceptual problem posed by intezar, or waiting, in revolutionary Iran. Kara suggests that this problem mirrors the suspension or deferral of sovereignty implied by the logic of historicism, and thus the wider state of belatedness faced across what was once called the “third world.” Though confronted by the problem of waiting in different ways, the author shows how thinkers from revolutionary Iran and colonial India—namely Ali Shariati (1933–77) and Muhammad Iqbal (1877–1938)—may have arrived at similar conclusions.

Refusing Minority, Recasting Islam, Global Intellectual History (2021). Edited with Amar Sohal

“Pray to the Archive: Abstracting History in Zanzibar,” International Journal of Islamic Architecture 9:2 (2020), special issue on Field as Archive/Archive as Field



Don’t call yourselves Asian! Uganda’s Indians and the problem of naming, 27 june 2022, as part of the Conference – Expulsion: Uganda’s Asians and the Remaking of Nationality at the University of Oxford.The talk is available here: https://podcasts.ox.ac.uk/people/taushif-kara