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.