Aisha Ahmad

Aisha Ahmad
Associate Professor
Associate Chair, Undergraduate
Telephone number
Building HL 558


Aisha Ahmad is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto, the Director of the Islam and Global Affairs Initiative and a Senior Researcher of the Global Justice Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs, and the Chair of the Board of Directors of Women in International Security-Canada. She is the author of Jihad & Co.: Black Markets and Islamist Power (Oxford University Press, 2017), which awarded both the distinguished 2017 Mershon Center Furniss Award for the best new book in international and national security, and the 2018 Best Book in Comparative Politics Prize by the Canadian Political Science Association. Her article, “The Security Bazaar,” published in International Security, won the 2017 Best Security Article Award from the International Studies Association. She has conducted fieldwork in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Mali, Iraq, and Lebanon, and has advised both governments and international organizations on global security policies.

You can follow Professor Aisha Ahmad on Twitter at @ProfAishaAhmad

Please click here for an interview with Professor Aisha Ahmad

Research Interests

Her research interests include International Relations, Comparative Politics, state failure, political Islam, political economy, and peace building. Her work explores the political economy of Islamist power in weak and failed states. She has conducted fieldwork on conflict dynamics in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Lebanon, Mali, and Kenya. Her 2017 book with Oxford University Press, titled “Jihad & Co.: Black Markets and Islamist Power”, explores the economic drivers of these complex security crises.

Awards and Grants

A decorated lecturer, Dr. Ahmad is also the 2018 winner of the Northrop Frye Award of Excellence for outstanding contributions to co-curricular learning and pedagogical innovation, as well as the 2018 University of Toronto, Scarborough Campus (UTSC) Assistant Professor Award for outstanding contributions to undergraduate teaching. In 2017, she was named one of Toronto’s “most inspiring women” of 2017 in Post City Magazine. In 2018, she was named the 2018 “Muslim Woman of the Year” at the Muslim Awards of Excellence (MAX) gala, which celebrates outstanding achievements by Muslim Canadians in their field. She is currently a Senior Fellow at Massey College and an Associate Fellow at Trinity College, and was formerly an International Security Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School.


Scholarly Books:

Aisha Ahmad, Jihad & Co.: Black Markets and Islamist Power, New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2017.

Journals Articles:

Aisha Ahmad “Canadian Values and the Muslim World” in International Journal: Canada’s Journal of Global Policy Analysis Vol. 72, No. 2 (Summer 2017)

Aisha Ahmad, “Going Global: Islamist Competition in Contemporary Civil Wars,” Security Studies, (Spring 2016), Vol. 25(2), pp. 353-384.

Aisha Ahmad, "The Security Bazaar: Business Interests and Islamist Power in Civil War Somalia," International Security, Vol. 39, No. 3 (Winter 2014/15), pp. 89-117. Winner of 2017 Best Security Article Award by the International Studies Association.

Aisha Ahmad, “Agenda for Peace or Budget for War? Evaluating the Economic Impact of International Intervention in Somalia” in International Journal, Vol. 67, No. 2 (Spring 2012) pp. 313-331.

Book Chapters:

Aisha Ahmad, “Canada in Somalia: Learning from the Legacy of Failed Intervention” in Canada Among Nations (Centre for International Governance Innovation: Waterloo, ON), 2015.

Selected Conference Papers:
Aisha Ahmad, “Women as the War Front: Islam, Jihad, and the Politics of Intervention,” Canadian Political Science Association, Calgary, AB, June 2016.

Aisha Ahmad, “Female Bodies as the War Front in Jihadist Competitions,” International Studies Association, Atlanta, GA, March 2016.

Aisha Ahmad, “The Logic of Perpetual Crisis: State Weakness in International Politics,” International Studies Association Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA, February 2015.

Aisha Ahmad “Financing Failure: International Interventions as Resource Curse in Conflict and Post-Conflict States” American Political Science Association: Chicago, MI, August 2013

Teaching Interests

  • POLB80H3 - Introduction to International Relations
  • POLC09H3 - International Security: Crisis, Conflict, and War
  • POLC80H3 - International Relations of Africa
  • POLD09H3 - International Relations of Ethnic Conflict