Ayesha Jalal is a historian and political scientist who writes about Pakistan and India.
Jalal's work explores the creation of the Pakistani state, its struggle to become a democracy, Indian-Pakistani relations, and the current changes in Muslim identity in the face of modernity and globalization. Her first book, The Sole Spokesman: Jinnah, the Muslim League and the Demand for Pakistan (1985), revised the accepted account of the role played by Jinnah and the Muslim League in the creation of an independent Pakistan in 1947. Jalal’s second book, The State and Martial Rule: The Origins of Pakistan’s Political Economy of Defense (1990), examines the construction of the early Pakistani state from 1947 to 1965. She is also the author of Democracy and Authoritarianism in South Asia: A Comparative and Historical Perspective (1995) and Self and Sovereignty: The Muslim Individual and the Community of Islam in South Asia Since 1850 (2000) and the co-author of Modern South Asia: History, Culture, Political Economy (2004).
Jalal received a B.A. (1978) from Wellesley College, and a Ph.D. (1983) from Trinity College, University of Cambridge.