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Document Type:Latin Dissertation
Language of Document:English
Record Number:52977
Doc. No:TL22931
Call number:‭3353485‬
Main Entry:Alan Mark Mikhail
Title & Author:The nature of Ottoman Egypt: Irrigation, environment, and bureaucracy in the long eighteenth centuryAlan Mark Mikhail
College:University of California, Berkeley
Date:2008
Degree:Ph.D.
student score:2008
Page No:489
Abstract:Through a study of irrigation and water usage, this dissertation examines the function and eventual demise of a system of Ottoman imperial natural resource management and balance over the course of the long eighteenth century (1650 to 1820). Using both Arabic and Ottoman Turkish archival materials, I show how Egyptian peasants operated within and indeed used the Ottoman bureaucracy to irrigate soil in rural Egypt to grow food that would feed thousands across the Empire. My main argument in the first four chapters of this dissertation is that Egyptian peasants' knowledge of and experience with local environments determined that they--and not imperial Ottoman bureaucrats--were the main protagonists in the management of water resources and irrigation in the Egyptian countryside. This massively complex Ottoman imperial system of natural resource use, coordination, and transport was thus characterized by extremely local forms of labor, irrigation, and knowledge. With the expansion of bureaucracies of rule in Ottoman Egypt at the end of the eighteenth century, this imperial system of coordinated hyper-localism that had come to inform the management of natural resources across the Empire slowly began to change. Irrigation repair jobs and other public works projects became larger and larger resulting in more sophisticated bureaucratic methods and tighter means of social control. Whereas earlier in the eighteenth century, dozens of Egyptian peasants worked for a few days to repair irrigation works that fed water directly to their own fields, at the end of this period they were forcibly moved from their villages by the hundreds to work on larger and more central irrigation works. Likewise, plague in this same period was transformed from a known and constructive social and environmental phenomenon to an external and destructive force to be quarantined. This dissertation ends with an examination of the reconstruction of the Mah[dotbelow]mudiyya Canal between the Nile and Alexandria in the first quarter of the nineteenth century. Requiring over 300,000 peasant laborers, this canal represented the end both of local control over irrigation works and of the eighteenth-century imperial system of natural resource management I detail in the first half of this dissertation.
Subject:Social sciences; Biological sciences; Ottoman Empire; Egypt; Irrigation; Natural resource management; Peasants; Public works; Middle Eastern history; Agriculture; Agricultural economics; 0473:Agriculture; 0333:Middle Eastern history; 0503:Agricultural economics
Added Entry:B. Doumani
Added Entry:University of California, Berkeley