Synopses & Reviews
In one of the first ever environmental histories of the Ottoman Empire, Alan Mikhail examines relations between the empire and its most lucrative province of Egypt. Based on both the local records of various towns and villages in rural Egypt and the imperial orders of the Ottoman state, this book charts how changes in the control of natural resources fundamentally altered the nature of Ottoman imperial sovereignty in Egypt and throughout the empire. In revealing how Egyptian peasants were able to use their knowledge and experience of local environments to force the hand of the imperial state, Nature and Empire in Ottoman Egypt tells a story of the connections of empire stretching from canals in the Egyptian countryside to the palace in Istanbul, from the Anatolian forest to the shores of the Red Sea, and from a plague flea's bite to the fortunes of one of the most powerful states of the early modern world.
"This book adds an important new dimension to the historiography of Ottoman Egypt. The author makes very intelligent use of Ottoman administrative documents and Muslim court records from a variety of Egyptian locales in order to situate this critical region within the new cutting-edge scholarship on the role of the environment and natural resource management in history." - Jane Hathaway, Ohio State University, author of The Arab Lands under Ottoman Rule, 1516-1800
"Alan Mikhail deploys an impressive array of environmental history insights. He asks new questions and comes up with startling answers." - Richard W. Bulliet, Columbia University
"Nature and Empire in Ottoman Egypt offers a history of the Ottoman world like no other. The force of environmental processes, the lived detail of peasant life, and the emergent forms of modern governmental power interact in this highly original account of early modern Egypt." - Timothy Mitchell, Columbia University
"In the first ever environmental history of Ottoman Egypt, Alan Mikhail brings to life the complex relationships between Egyptians, their rural world along the Nile, and the Ottoman Empire. This detailed account of irrigation, grain cultivation, the movement of wood, disease, and labor challenges many longstanding ideas in both Ottoman and Egyptian history while at the same time demonstrating how environmental history offers new ways of thinking about the Middle East. This path braking book should be read by all those with interests in the Middle East, the Ottoman Empire, Egypt, environmental history, and early modern history"--
Charts how changes in the control of natural resources fundamentally altered the nature of Ottoman imperial sovereignty.
Based on both the local records of various towns and villages in rural Egypt and the imperial orders of the Ottoman state, this book charts how changes in the control of natural resources fundamentally altered the nature of Ottoman imperial sovereignty in Egypt and throughout the empire.
About the Author
Alan Mikhail is Assistant Professor in the Department of History at Yale University. His articles have appeared in journals such as the International Journal of Middle East Studies, the Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient, the Bulletin of the History of Medicine, Akhbar al-Adab and Wijhat Nazar.
Table of Contents
Introduction - empire by nature; 1. Watering the Earth; 2. The food chain; 3. The framework of empire; 4. In working order; 5. From nature to disease; 6. Another Nile; Conclusion - the imagination and reality of public works; Appendix - citations for cases included in tables 2.1 to 2.4; Bibliography; Index.