The nature of Ottoman Egypt: Irrigation, environment, and bureaucracy in the long eighteenth century

 
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The nature of Ottoman Egypt: Irrigation, environment, and bureaucracy in the long eighteenth century
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ProQuest
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2008
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471 pages
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English
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ISBN:
1109100655
9781109100655
Last Updated:
December 20th, 2011
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.


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