Baqar Hassan Syed is a scholar of Islamic intellectual history with a keen interest in how premodern Islamic traditions relate to the present. His teaching covers a broad range of subjects, including the traditions of philosophy, theology, Sufism, and historiography in the Muslim world. By critiquing contemporary representations of these traditions, Syed aims to illuminate the past and provide means of addressing present challenges. 

In his research, Syed is interested in premodern traditions of Islamic historiography as well as their reception in modern Muslim societies, particularly in colonial and postcolonial South Asia. He examines the construction, repetition, and re-working of historical narratives in the interest of varied cultural projects in Muslim societies. In his PhD dissertation, “Ibn Khaldūn: His Idea of History and its Reception in South Asia,” Syed studies the ideas of the historian and theorist ‘Abd al-Ra Ibn Khaldūn (1332–1406) in the context of medieval commentarial traditions. He also examines the reception of Ibn Khaldūn’s ideas in modern South Asia.