Arezou Azad


Arezou Azad is a historian of the medieval Islamicate East from the coming of Islam in the seventh century CE to the Mongol Empire of the thirteenth 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 magnificent 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.