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Aug. 10, 2020 Update Fordham Forward, the plan to resume in-person teaching and learning on Aug. 26, is available below, along with extensive resources for students, parents, faculty, and staff. Full Details

Asif Siddiqi

Professor Asif Siddiqi

Professor of History
Office: Dealy Hall 624
Phone: 718-817-3939


PhD, History, Carnegie Mellon University, 2004.

MBA, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, 1998.

MS, Economics, Texas A&M University, 1992.

BS, Electrical Engineering, Texas A&M University, 1989.

Research Interests

Asif Siddiqi specializes in the history of science and technology and modern Russian history. Broadly speaking, he is interested in the mutually constitutive aspects of culture and technology in the 19th and 20th centuries. Much of his work has been in the service of recovering and revisiting transactions and transmissions of knowledge across boundaries defined by geography, nation, class, or culture. He has published two authored books, five edited volumes, and over two dozen articles in refereed journals or books.

His early writings focused on the intersection of science and technology and modern Russian history, i.e., the history of Russian/Soviet science and technology. In his first two books, he explored the intellectual, political, cultural, and social dimensions of Russian exploration of the cosmos. The most recent authored book, The Red Rockets' Glare: Spaceflight and the Soviet Imagination, 1857-1957 (Cambridge University Press, 2010) reconstituted the intellectual roots of cosmic enthusiasm in Russian culture in the 19th century and bridged them with the more practical attempts of amateurs and the Soviet state to launch rockets into space.

More recently, his interests have gravitated in a number of different directions, including: science, technology, and national identity in the colonial and postcolonial contexts, particularly South Asia; histories of "global" technologies; the political economy of Stalnism; medieval science and technology; and the history of rock'n'roll.

Dr. Siddiqi commented on the influences of Konstantin Tsiolkovsky on the launching of Sputnik in celebration of the 60th anniversary. See the following article for more. 

Dr. Siddiqi recently commented on a NASA budgeting report. Read NASA budgeting reveals dim hopes for humans going to Mars.

Works in Project

He is currently working on several book projects:

  • A book under contract to Oxford University Press, tentatively titled Soviet Science and the Gulag, which explores the multivalent means by which Soviet scientific and academic institutions, personnel, and practices affected and were affected by the phenomenon of labor camps in Stalinist Soviet Union.
  • A study on the history of the Indian space program that situates its development in the broader setting of postcolonial nation-building.
  • A conceptual study on a "global history" of space exploration
  • A long-term project on the history of secrecy in the 20th century.

Dr. Siddiqi teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on modern European history, the history of science and technology, Russian/Soviet history, colonialism, and the history of South Asia.

In 2012-2014, he was a member of the National Research Council's "Committee on Human Spaceflight," tasked by Congress to review the long-term goals of NASA's human space exploration efforts and make recommendations to enable a sustainable program of exploration into deep space.

Courses Taught

I teach courses on modern European history, the history of science and technology, Russian/Soviet history, and South Asian history.

Undergraduate Introductory Courses:

  • HSRU 1000 The West: Enlightenment to the Present
  • HSRF 1000 Freshman Seminar: The West: Enlightenment to the Present
  • HIST 1000 Understanding Historical Change: Modern Europe

Undergraduate Electives

  • HPRU 2053 Honors Seminar: Contemporary History
  • HIST 3633 The Cold War Space Race
  • HIST 3635 Science in Popular Culture
  • HIST 3636 Social History of Technology
  • HIST 3637 Stalinism: Making the Soviet State
  • HIST 3638 Technology from Antiquity to the Middle Ages
  • HSRU 4571 Senior Seminar: Technology and Society in the Modern World
  • HIST 4572 Senior Seminar: Making of Modern South Asia
  • HIST 4933 Senior Seminar: Cold War Science and Technology

Graduate Courses

  • HIST 5566 Technology and Empire
  • HIST 5567 Science and Power
  • HSGA 6205 Teaching History/Pedagogy

Curriculum Vitae