MacArthur Fellows Program

Ayesha Jalal

Historian | Class of 1998

New York, New York
42 at time of award
Area of Focus
Asian History
Published July 1, 1998

About Ayesha's Work

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.

Last updated January 1, 2005

Select News Coverage of Ayesha Jalal
March 27, 2015
"A Sense of Belonging: For Ayesha Jalal, Islam Is An Ocean"
The Express Tribune
Ayesha Jalal , 1998 MacArthur Fellow
March 13, 2015
"Confronting Notions on Pakistan"
Ayesha Jalal , 1998 MacArthur Fellow
More Fellows

View All 1998 Fellows

Stay Informed
Sign up for periodic news updates and event invitations.
Connect with us on social media or view all of our social media content in one place.