IOWC Research Associate: Rashed Chowdhury

Rashed Chowdhury, an IOWC research associate, is examining several aspects of the Russian Empire's interaction with the Indian Ocean World in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In particular, he is looking at the experiences and findings of several Russian explorers and travellers in Africa and Asia, as well as the regional implications of the extension of the Russian state to Vladivostok. He is also embarking on a research project on Russian shipping in the Indian Ocean World.

Rashed completed his PhD in history at McGill in 2012. His dissertation, entitled “Pan-Islamism and Modernisation during the Reign of Sultan Abdülhamid II, 1876-1909,” examined the geopolitical context of the Hijaz Railway, built by the Ottoman Empire in the early twentieth century. The dissertation situates the railway in the context of the Ottomans’ attempts to challenge British hegemony in the Indian Ocean world. Rashed’s broader interests include the relationship between Islam and the state in the Middle East and beyond, the socio-political ramifications of modernisation in the Muslim world, Muslim minorities in Europe, and the hajj in the context of Indian Ocean World history.

Rashed holds a BA (Hons.) in international relations from Grinnell College (Iowa) and an MA in Islamic studies from McGill. He worked as a Junior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, DC from 2003 to 2004. He has won a number of awards for academic excellence, most recently receiving a doctoral bursary from the Fonds québécois de recherhe sur la société et la culture (2008-2011). Rashed is a regular contributor to ARCHE, a leading Belarusian magazine of public affairs and historical analysis.

Rashed Chowdhury’s native languages are Russian, Bengali and Belarusian. His working languages include French, Turkish, Arabic, Polish and Ukrainian.

Contact Information
Indian Ocean World Centre
Peterson Hall
3460 McTavish Street, Room 100
Montreal, Quebec, H3A 0E6

Selected Publications


Peer-Reviewed Journal Article

2013 “Identity Formation among the Belarusian Tatars in the Context of Belarus’s Transition to Independence, 1991-1992,” Revue du Centre Européen d'Études Slaves, no. 2.

Chapters in Edited Volumes

2015 (forthcoming) “Russian Medical Diplomacy in Ethiopia, 1896-1913”, in Anna Winterbottom and Facil Tesfaye (eds.), Histories of Medicine and Healing in the Indian Ocean World, Vol. Two: The Modern World (London: Palgrave Macmillan).
2010 “Muslim Opposition to the War in Afghanistan: The Case(s) of Bangladesh and Turkey,” in Gary Badcock and Darren Marks (eds.), War, Human Dignity and Nation Building: Theological Perspectives on Canada’s Role in Afghanistan (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing), 91-112.

Encyclopedia Article

2009 “Organization of the Islamic Conference,” in David P. Forsythe (ed.), Encyclopedia of Human Rights (New York: Oxford University Press).