Samira Junaid

Areas of Interest & Expertise

  • Early Modern South Asia
  • Indian Ocean Worlds
  • Tamil Islam
  • Maritime Movement and Migration
  • Intellectual and Social History
  • Performance Practices and Traditions


Samira a historian of Early Modern South Asia with an interest in religion and its entanglements with political economy. She is currently working on a monograph tentatively titled The Many Dargahs of Nagore: Relocating Tamil Islam in the Bay of Bengal Littoral. The book analyses the rise to prominence of South India’s most celebrated Sufi, the sixteenth-century figure Shahul Hamid, and the shrine that emerged around his burial site in Nagore, on the Coromandel Coast. 

Alongside, she is also working on an article on the forgotten history of Islamic Carnatic music. Here she intends to explore the rich archive of songbooks containing raga-based compositions written in Tamil by the Muslim poets of South India. She is also trying to find out whether these songs were performed, and if so, what happened to that music tradition in the contemporary period.

She earned her PhD in December 2019 from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and her MA and MPhil degrees from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi, and Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta (CSSSC), respectively. 

She worked for a few years in the book publishing industry, at Tulika Books and Routledge, New Delhi.

Apart from research and teaching, she enjoys listening to music and singing, baking and trying new recipes, and learning new skills – both artistic and practical. 

Conference Papers

  • Junaid, S. (2017, July 26 – 28). Singing in praise of a Sufi Lord”: Karnatak music in a Muslim Mode [Paper presentation]. 46th Annual Conference on South Asia. Madison, Wisconsin, United States of America.
  • Junaid, S. (2016, October 20 – 23). Situating Islam in a Tamil landscape: Hagiographical traditions of the Nagore Dargah [Paper presentation]. 45th Annual Conference on South Asia. Madison, Wisconsin, United States of America.