The Nature of Ottoman Iraq: Environmental Management at the Margins of Empire, 1831-1917


ACLS Fellowship Program




Between 1831 and 1917, disastrous floods, epidemic diseases, and climate irregularities wreaked havoc in the southern reaches of the Tigris-Euphrates basin—a geographic region then under Ottoman rule and also known as Iraq. During this period, these environmental factors increasingly shaped Ottoman efforts to modernize this easternmost region of the empire, whether through large-scale hydraulic infrastructure projects, quarantines, or famine relief efforts. The Nature of Ottoman Iraq argues for the centrality of human-nature interactions to narrate the history of late Ottoman Iraq, revealing that, despite being on the physical margins of the Ottoman Empire, Iraq was central to the broader restructuring of the late Ottoman state on account of the empire-wide impacts of its ecological vulnerabilities.