MESA Banner
Arezou Azad
University of Oxford
Pusey Lane
Oxford OX1 2LE
United Kingdom
Arezou Azad is a historian of the medieval Islamicate East from the coming of Islam in the 7th century CE to the Mongol Empire of the 13th century, and all its various component cultures and societies. Her first book entitled Sacred Landscape of Medieval Afghanistan (Oxford, 2013) explores the ways in which the multicultural region of Balkh in Afghanistan, which hosted one of the most magnificant Buddhist monasteries and temples in antiquity, became "the dome of Islam.” Her most recent co-authored book is Faḍāʾil-i Balkh: Annotated translation with commentary and introduction of the oldest surviving history of Balkh in Afghanistan (Gibb Memorial Trust/Oxbow/Casemate, 2021). Arezou leads the Invisible East programme at the University of Oxford which includes two team-focussed projects, the PersDoc project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Go.Local project funded by the European Research Council involving the study of documents, literary sources and material culture from medieval Afghanistan and Central Asia. She received her DPhil (doctorate) at Oxford's Oriental Institute, after which she co-directed the Balkh Art and Cultural Heritage Project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust 2011-2015. Arezou was a lecturer in medieval history at the University of Birmingham from 2013-2019. She was born and raised in Germany, and before joining academia served as a UN peacekeeper in the Balkans, Timor Leste, and other hotspots around the world.
Sub Areas
7th-13th Centuries
Islamic Studies
Iranian Studies
Geographic Areas of Interest
Islamic World
Central Asia
Historiography, History Of The Islamicate East
Diplomatics, Materiality And Documentary Practice
Persian Manuscripts
German (native)
Persian (advanced)
French (advanced)
Portuguese (advanced)
English (native)
Arabic (intermediate)
PhD | 2011 | Oriental Studies | University of Oxford
MSt | 2006 | Oriental Studies | University of Oxford
MPH | 1995 | Public Health/SIPA | Columbia University
BA | 1992 | Politics/Journalism | Boston University
Archiving and scribal practices exhibited in Arabic and Persian texts and documents from the pre-Mongol Islamicate East Internal Officialdom and Institutional Memory in the Medieval Islamic World: Correspondence amongst State Officials in the Bamiyan Papers (12th-13th Century CE)