Books by Faculty, Fellows & Alumni

2019
Ottoman Land Reform in the Province of Baghdad
Kiyotaki, Keiko. Ottoman Land Reform in the Province of Baghdad. Brill, 2019. Publisher's VersionAbstract

In Ottoman Land Reform in the Province of Baghdad, Keiko Kiyotaki traces the Ottoman reforms of tax farming and land tenure and establishes that their effects were the key ingredients of agricultural progress. These modernizing reforms are shown to be effective because they were compatible with local customs and tribal traditions, which the Ottoman governors worked to preserve.

Ottoman rule in Iraq has previously been considered oppressive and blamed with failure to develop the country. Since the British mandate government’s land and tax policies were little examined, the Ottoman legacy has been left unidentified. This book proves that Ottoman land reforms led to increases in agricultural production and tax revenue, while the hasty reforms enacted by the mandate government ignoring indigenous customs caused new agricultural and land problems.

Disciples of the State? Religion and State-Building in the Former Ottoman World
Fabbe, Kristin. Disciples of the State? Religion and State-Building in the Former Ottoman World. Cambridge University Press, 2019. Publisher's VersionAbstract

As the Ottoman Empire crumbled, the Middle East and Balkans became the site of contestation and cooperation between the traditional forces of religion and the emergent machine of the sovereign state. Yet such strategic interaction rarely yielded a decisive victory for either the secular state or for religion. By tracing how state-builders engaged religious institutions, elites, and attachments, this book problematizes the divergent religion-state power configurations that have developed. There are two central arguments. First, states carved out more sovereign space in places like Greece and Turkey, where religious elites were integral to early centralizing reform processes. Second, region-wide structural constraints on the types of linkages that states were able to build with religion have generated long-term repercussions. Fatefully, both state policies that seek to facilitate equality through the recognition of religious difference and state policies that seek to eradicate such difference have contributed to failures of liberal democratic consolidation.

Treasures of Knowledge: An Inventory of the Ottoman Palace Library (1502/3-1503/4) (2 vols)
Necipoğlu, Gülru, Cemal Kafadar, and Cornell H. Fleischer, ed. Treasures of Knowledge: An Inventory of the Ottoman Palace Library (1502/3-1503/4) (2 vols). Brill, 2019. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The subject of this two-volume publication is an inventory of manuscripts in the book treasury of the Topkapı Palace in Istanbul, commissioned by the Ottoman sultan Bayezid II from his royal librarian ʿAtufi in the year 908 (1502–3) and transcribed in a clean copy in 909 (1503–4). This unicum inventory preserved in the Oriental Collection of the Library of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (Magyar Tudományos Akadémia Könyvtára Keleti Gyűjtemény, MS Török F. 59) records over 5,000 volumes, and more than 7,000 titles, on virtually every branch of human erudition at the time. The Ottoman palace library housed an unmatched encyclopedic collection of learning and literature; hence, the publication of this unique inventory opens a larger conversation about Ottoman and Islamic intellectual/cultural history. The very creation of such a systematically ordered inventory of books raises broad questions about knowledge production and practices of collecting, readership, librarianship, and the arts of the book at the dawn of the sixteenth century. The first volume contains twenty-eight interpretative essays on this fascinating document, authored by a team of scholars from diverse disciplines, including Islamic and Ottoman history, history of science, arts of the book and codicology, agriculture, medicine, astrology, astronomy, occultism, mathematics, philosophy, theology, law, mysticism, political thought, ethics, literature (Arabic, Persian, Turkish/Turkic), philology, and epistolary. Following the first three essays by the editors on implications of the library inventory as a whole, the other essays focus on particular fields of knowledge under which books are catalogued in MS Török F. 59, each accompanied by annotated lists of entries. The second volume presents a transliteration of the Arabic manuscript, which also features an Ottoman Turkish preface on method, together with a reduced-scale facsimile.
Narrating Muslim Sicily: War and Peace in the Medieval Mediterranean World
Granara, William. Narrating Muslim Sicily: War and Peace in the Medieval Mediterranean World. I.B. Tauris, 2019. Publisher's VersionAbstract

In 902 the last Byzantine stronghold in Sicily fell, and the island would remain under Muslim control until the arrival of the Normans in the eleventh century. Drawing on a lifetime of translating and linguistic experience, William Granara here focuses on the various ways in which medieval Arab historians, geographers, jurists and philologists imagined and articulated their ever-changing identities in this turbulent period. All of these authors sought to make sense of the island's dramatic twists, including conquest and struggles over political sovereignty, and the painful decline of social and cultural life. Writing about Siqilliya involved drawing from memory, conjecture and then-current theories of why nations and people rose and fell. In so doing, Granara considers and translates, often for the first time, a vast range of primary sources - from the master chronicles of Ibn al-Athir and Ibn Khadun to biographical dictionaries, geographical works, legal treatises and poetry - and modern scholarship not available in English. He charts the shift from Sicily as 'warrior outpost' to vital and productive hub that would transform the medieval Islamic world, and indeed the entire Mediterranean.

A History of the Tajiks: Iranians of the East
Foltz, Richard. A History of the Tajiks: Iranians of the East. I.B. Tauris, 2019. Publisher's VersionAbstract

In this comprehensive and up to date history, from prehistoric proto-Indo-Iranian times to the post-Soviet period, Richard Foltz traces the complex linguistic, cultural and political history of the Tajiks, a Persian-speaking Iranian ethnic group from the modern-day Central Asian states of Tajikistan, Afghanistan, and Uzbekistan. In eight chapters, the author explores the revitalisation of Persian culture under the Samanid Empire in the Tajik heartlands of historical Khorasan and Transoxiana; analyses the evolution of the politics of Tajik identity; and traces the history of the ethnic Tajik diaspora today.

Enlightening Europe on Islam and the Ottomans: Mouradgea d’Ohsson and His Masterpiece
Findley, Carter V. Enlightening Europe on Islam and the Ottomans: Mouradgea d’Ohsson and His Masterpiece. Brill, 2019. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Mouradgea d’Ohsson’s Tableau général de l’Empire othoman offered the Enlightenment Republic of Letters its most authoritative work on Islam and the Ottomans, also a practical reference work for kings and statesmen. Profusely illustrated and opening deep insights into illustrated book production in this period, this is also the richest collection of visual documentation on the Ottomans in a hundred years. Shaped by the author’s personal struggles, the work yet commands recognition in its own totality as a monument to inter-cultural understanding. In form one of the great taxonomic works of Enlightenment thought, this is a work of advocacy in the cause of reform and amity among France, Sweden, and the Ottoman Empire.

City of Black Gold: Oil, Ethnicity, and the Making of Modern Kirkuk
Bet-Shlimon, Arbella. City of Black Gold: Oil, Ethnicity, and the Making of Modern Kirkuk. Stanford University Press, 2019. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Kirkuk is Iraq's most multilingual city, for millennia home to a diverse population. It was also where, in 1927, a foreign company first struck oil in Iraq. Over the following decades, Kirkuk became the heart of Iraq's booming petroleum industry. City of Black Gold tells a story of oil, urbanization, and colonialism in Kirkuk—and how these factors shaped the identities of Kirkuk's citizens, forming the foundation of an ethnic conflict.

Arbella Bet-Shlimon reconstructs the twentieth-century history of Kirkuk to question the assumptions about the past underpinning today's ethnic divisions. In the early 1920s, when the Iraqi state was formed under British administration, group identities in Kirkuk were fluid. But as the oil industry fostered colonial power and Baghdad's influence over Kirkuk, intercommunal violence and competing claims to the city's history took hold. The ethnicities of Kurds, Turkmens, and Arabs in Kirkuk were formed throughout a century of urban development, interactions between communities, and political mobilization. Ultimately, this book shows how contentious politics in disputed areas are not primordial traits of those regions, but are a modern phenomenon tightly bound to the society and economics of urban life.

The Responsible Globalist: What Citizens of the World Can Learn from Nationalism
Damluji, Hassan. The Responsible Globalist: What Citizens of the World Can Learn from Nationalism. Penguin, 2019. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Today, globalism has a bad reputation. 'Citizens of the world' are depicted as recklessly uninterested in how international economic networks can affect local communities. Meanwhile, nationalists are often derided as racists and bigots. But what if the two were not so far apart? What could globalists learn from the powerful sense of belonging that nationalism has created? Faced with the injustices of the world's economic and political system, what should a responsible globalist do?

British-Iraqi development expert Hassan Damluji proposes six principles - from changing how we think about mobility to shutting down tax havens - which can help build consensus for a stronger globalist identity. He demonstrates that globalism is not limited to 'Davos man' but is a truly mass phenomenon that is growing fastest in emerging countries. Rather than a 'nowhere' identity, it is a new group solidarity that sits alongside other allegiances.

With a wealth of examples from the United States to India, China and the Middle East, The Responsible Globalist offers a boldly optimistic and pragmatic blueprint for building an inclusive, global nation. This will be a century-long project, where success is not guaranteed. But unless we can reimagine humanity as a single national community, Damluji warns, the gravest threats we face will not be defeated.

Syria: A Modern History
Lesch, David W. Syria: A Modern History. Polity, 2019. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Today Syria is a country known for all the wrong reasons: civil war, vicious sectarianism, and major humanitarian crisis. But how did this once rich, multi-cultural society end up as the site of one of the twenty-first century’s most devastating and brutal conflicts?

In this incisive book, internationally renowned Syria expert David Lesch takes the reader on an illuminating journey through the last hundred years of Syrian history – from the end of the Ottoman empire through to the current civil war. The Syria he reveals is a fractured mosaic, whose identity (or lack thereof) has played a crucial part in its trajectory over the past century. Only once the complexities and challenges of Syria’s history are understood can this pivotal country in the Middle East begin to rebuild and heal.

2018
Roberto Burle Marx Lectures: Landscape as Art and Urbanism
Doherty, Gareth, ed. Roberto Burle Marx Lectures: Landscape as Art and Urbanism. Lars Müller Publishers, 2018. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Roberto Burle Marx (1909–1994) remains one of the most important landscape architects in the history of the field. His distinctive and widely acclaimed work has been featured and referenced in numerous sources, yet few of Burle Marx’s own words have been published.

This collection of a dozen of Burle Marx’s lectures, most of which have never before been available in English, fills that void. Delivered on international speaking tours, they address topics such as Concepts in Landscape Composition, Gardens and Ecology and The Problem of Garden Lighting. Their publication sheds light on Burle Marx’s distinctive ethic and aesthetic of landscape, as “the real art of living.”

The lectures paint a picture of Burle Marx not just as a gardener, artist and botanist, but as a landscape architect whose ambition was to bring radical change to cities and society. The lectures are framed by photographs, by Leonardo Finotti, of a selection of Burle Marx’s realized projects.

The Arab-Israeli Conflict: A History
Lesch, David W. The Arab-Israeli Conflict: A History. 2nd ed. Oxford University Press, 2018. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Whether filtered through the media or through the classroom, the Arab-Israeli conflict has become a pervasive--and often misunderstood--subject of our contemporary cultural landscape. In this compelling new edition of The Arab-Israeli Conflict, widely respected scholar David W. Lesch presents the most balanced and accessible account of the conflict. Combining narrative history, primary sources, and informative analyses, The Arab-Israeli Conflict enables students to form their own educated opinions about complex and controversial issues.

New to this Edition:

  • Updated and revised material throughout, including coverage of the policies of the Obama administration, the Arab Spring, Israeli-Palestinian developments and conflicts, the Syrian civil war, the rise of ISIS, and the first year of the Trump administration
  • A new map--"The West Bank in 2017"--and a new "Closer Look" feature on the Iran nuclear deal in Chapter 12
  • New photographs and primary-source documents
  • Glossary terms are now boldfaced the first time they appear in the text
  • An updated glossary and a revised bibliography
  • Endnotes in each chapter that help students make the connection between the chapter narratives and the primary and secondary sources
The Iranian Metaphysicals: Explorations in Science, Islam, and the Uncanny
Doostdar, Alireza. The Iranian Metaphysicals: Explorations in Science, Islam, and the Uncanny. Princeton University Press, 2018. Publisher's VersionAbstract

What do the occult sciences, séances with the souls of the dead, and appeals to saintly powers have to do with rationality? Since the late nineteenth century, modernizing intellectuals, religious leaders, and statesmen in Iran have attempted to curtail many such practices as “superstitious,” instead encouraging the development of rational religious sensibilities and dispositions. However, far from diminishing the diverse methods through which Iranians engage with the immaterial realm, these rationalizing processes have multiplied the possibilities for metaphysical experimentation.

The Iranian Metaphysicals examines these experiments and their transformations over the past century. Drawing on years of ethnographic and archival research, Alireza Doostdar shows that metaphysical experimentation lies at the center of some of the most influential intellectual and religious movements in modern Iran. These forms of exploration have not only produced a plurality of rational orientations toward metaphysical phenomena but have also fundamentally shaped what is understood as orthodox Shi‘i Islam, including the forms of Islamic rationality at the heart of projects for building and sustaining an Islamic Republic.

Delving into frequently neglected aspects of Iranian spirituality, politics, and intellectual inquiry, The Iranian Metaphysicals challenges widely held assumptions about Islam, rationality, and the relationship between science and religion.

Winner of the 2018 Albert Hourani Book Award, Middle East Studies Association

Ottoman Rule of Law and the Modern Political Trial: The Yildiz Case
Rubin, Avi. Ottoman Rule of Law and the Modern Political Trial: The Yildiz Case. Syracuse University Press, 2018. Publisher's VersionAbstract

In 1876, a recently dethroned sultan, Abdülaziz, was found dead in his chambers, the veins in his arm slashed. Five years later, a group of Ottoman senior officials stood a criminal trial and were found guilty for complicity in his murder. Among the defendants was the world-famous statesman former Grand Vizier and reformer Ahmed Midhat Pasa, a political foe of the autocratic sultan Abdülhamit II, who succeeded Abdülaziz and ruled the empire for thirty-three years.

The alleged murder of the former sultan and the trial that ensued were political dramas that captivated audiences both domestically and internationally. The high-profile personalities involved, the international politics at stake, and the intense newspaper coverage all rendered the trial an historic event, but the question of whether the sultan was murdered or committed suicide remains a mystery that continues to be relevant in Turkey today. Drawing upon a wide range of narrative and archival sources, Rubin explores the famous yet understudied trial and its representations in contemporary public discourse and subsequent historiography. Through the reconstruction and analysis of various aspects of the trial, Rubin identifies the emergence of a new culture of legalism that sustained the first modern political trial in the history of the Middle East.

2017
The Late Ottoman Empire and Egypt: Hybridity, Law, and Gender
Shlala, Elizabeth H. The Late Ottoman Empire and Egypt: Hybridity, Law, and Gender. Routledge, 2017. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Law and identification transgressed political boundaries in the nineteenth-century Levant. Over the course of the century, Italo-Levantines- elite and common- exercised a strategy of resilient hybridity whereby an unintentional form of legal imperialism took root in Egypt.

This book contributes to a vibrant strand of global legal history that places law and other social structures at the heart of competing imperial projects- British, Ottoman, Egyptian, and Italian among them. Analysis of the Italian consular and mixed court cases, and diplomatic records, in Egypt and Istanbul reveals the complexity of shifting identifications and judicial reform in two parts of the interactive and competitive plural legal regime. The rich court records show that binary relational categories fail to capture the complexity of the daily lives of the residents and courts of the late Ottoman empire. Over time and acting in their own self-interests, these actors exploited the plural legal regime. Case studies in both Egypt and Istanbul explore how identification developed as a legal form of property itself. 

Whereas the classical literature emphasized external state power politics, this book builds upon new work in the field that shows the interaction of external and internal power struggles throughout the region led to assorted forms of confrontation, collaboration, and negotiation in the region. It will be of interest to students, scholars, and readers of Middle East, Ottoman, and Mediterranean history. It will also appeal to anyone wanting to know more about cultural history in the nineteenth century, and the historical roots of contemporary global debates on law, migration, and identities. 

Beyond the Arab Cold War: The International History of the Yemen Civil War, 1962-68
Orkaby, Asher. Beyond the Arab Cold War: The International History of the Yemen Civil War, 1962-68. Oxford University Press, 2017. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Beyond the Arab Cold War brings the Yemen Civil War, 1962-68, to the forefront of modern Middle East History. During the 1960s, in the wake of a coup against Imam Muhammad al-Badr and the formation of the Yemen Arab Republic (YAR), Yemen was transformed into an arena of global conflict. Believing al-Badr to be dead, Egypt, the Soviet Union, and most countries recognized the YAR. But when al-Badr unexpectedly turned up alive, Saudi Arabia and Britain offered support to the deposed Imam, drawing Yemen into an internationally-sponsored civil war. Throughout six years of major conflict, Yemen sat at the crossroads of regional and international conflict as dozens of countries, international organizations, and individuals intervened in the local South Arabian civil war.

Yemen was a showcase for a new era of UN and Red Cross peacekeeping, clandestine activity, Egyptian counterinsurgency, and one of the first largescale uses of poison gas since WWI. Events in Yemen were not dominated by a single power, nor were they sole products of US-Soviet or Saudi-Egyptian Arab Cold War rivalry. Britain, Canada, Israel, the UN, the US, and the USSR joined Egypt and Saudi Arabia in assuming varying roles in fighting, mediating, and supplying the belligerent forces. Despite Cold War tensions, Americans and Soviets appeared on the same side of the Yemeni conflict and acted mutually to confine Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser to the borders of South Arabia. The end of the Yemen Civil War marked the end of both Nasser's Arab Nationalist colonial expansion and the British Empire in the Middle East, two of the most dominant regional forces.

This internationalized conflict was a pivotal event in Middle East history, overseeing the formation of a modern Yemeni state, the fall of Egyptian and British regional influence, another Arab-Israeli war, Saudi dominance of the Arabian Peninsula, and shifting power alliances in the Middle East that continue to lie at the core of modern-day conflicts in South Arabia.

Paradoxes of Green: Landscapes of a City-State
Doherty, Gareth. Paradoxes of Green: Landscapes of a City-State. University of California Press, 2017. Publisher's VersionAbstract

This innovative multidisciplinary study considers the concept of green from multiple perspectives—aesthetic, architectural, environmental, political, and social—in the Kingdom of Bahrain, where green has a long and deep history of appearing cooling, productive, and prosperous—a radical contrast to the hot and hostile desert. Although green is often celebrated in cities as a counter to gray urban environments, green has not always been good for cities. Similarly, manifestation of the color green in arid urban environments is often in direct conflict with the practice of green from an environmental point of view. This paradox is at the heart of the book. In arid environments such as Bahrain, the contradiction becomes extreme and even unsustainable.

Based on long-term ethnographic fieldwork, Gareth Doherty explores the landscapes of Bahrain, where green represents a plethora of implicit human values and exists in dialectical tension with other culturally and environmentally significant colors and hues. Explicit in his book is the argument that concepts of color and object are mutually defining and thus a discussion about green becomes a discussion about the creation of space and place.