Farid Azfar is a cultural historian of the Enlightenment with focal interests in the history of sexuality, early modern London, cosmopolitanism, political memory, and Europe's encounter with Islam. His research and teaching also encompass humanitarianism, temporality, water history, queer theory, urban geography, comparative empires, and the Indian Ocean World. Recent publications include articles in The Journal of British Studies, Historical Reflections/Réflexions Historiques, and The London Journal, and a forthcoming article in The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation. He is currently working on a manuscript that is provisionally entitled At the Limits of the Enlightenment: Revolutionary Desire and Transformative Ideas in the 1720s. This book uses three seminal crises of the decade - the South Sea Bubble, the explosion of sexual undergrounds, and the collapse of the Safavid Empire in Persia - to rethink the dialectic of Enlightenment and revolution. He has started work on a second project about the early modern Indus and Ganges as sites of cultural change and praxis, refracting questions of empire, time, space, power, and modernity.
Prof. Azfar teaches courses at Swarthmore on early modern Europe, Enlightenment sexualities, early modern London, the East India Company, human rights, histories of water, and cosmopolitanism in Europe and the Ottoman Empire. He has a doctorate in History from Brown University and comes to Swarthmore from Haverford College, where he was Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor of History from 2010-12.