Department of History

James Pickett

Faculty: Assistant Professor
Regional Field: Europe

James Pickett is a historian of empire and Islamic authority in Eurasia.

His first book project explores transregional networks of Persianate exchange among religious scholars in Bukhara during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Related articles also trace the cultural memory of this era as a subsequent influence on Soviet propaganda in Iran and language ideology in Central Eurasia. His second project will compare Bukhara's transformation into a Russian protectorate with the Indian princely state of Hyderabad's parallel trajectory into semi-colonial status. In pursuing these endeavors, Dr. Pickett has spent over half a decade living and working throughout Eurasia: scouring Arabic biographical dictionaries in Damascus; pawing through Russian colonial records in Saint Petersburg; surveying religious endowments in Uzbekistan; deciphering Persian manuscripts in Tajikistan; and delving into Urdu sources in archives throughout India.

During the 2015-2016 academic year, he was on leave as a postdoctoral associate at Yale University, InterAsia Initiative. At Pitt he teaches courses on Russia, the Soviet Union, Islam, and the Mongols (including a new course, “Empires of the Steppe”).

Dr. Pickett holds a PhD in history from Princeton University, an MA from Georgetown University, and a BA from Carleton College. More details about James' research can be found on