Over the last decade or two, the field of Middle Eastern and Islamic studies has witnessed the convergence of new perspectives on the history of epidemic diseases. A growing body of scholarship enables us to explore connections between Middle Eastern studies and the histories of medicine and health. This study serves as testimony that the field has reached a certain level of maturity. Contributors to the volume tackle various questions of historiography and sources, test new interdisciplinary methodologies, and ask new questions while revisiting older ones. Essays in the volume discuss diseases that affected human and non-human populations in areas stretching from the Red Sea and Egypt to Anatolia, the Balkans, and the Black Sea, in the early modern and modern eras.
The volume contributes to Ottoman studies, the history of medicine, Mediterranean and European history, as well as global studies on the role of epidemics in history.
I. Rethinking Historiography and Sources
A Historiography of Epidemics in the Islamic Mediterranean by Miri Shefer-Mossensohn
Scholars, Sufis, and Disease: Can Muslim Religious Works Offer Us Novel Insights on Plagues and Epidemics among the Medieval and Early Modern Ottomans? by John J. Curry
“Oriental Plague” or Epidemiological Orientalism? Revisiting the Plague Episteme of the Early Modern Mediterranean by Nükhet Varlık
II. Diseases in Context
A Model Disaster: From the Great Ottoman Panzootic to the Cattle Plagues of Early Modern Europe by Sam White
Veterinary Medicine in Nineteenth-Century Egypt by Alan Mikhail
Smallpox in the Harem: Communicable Diseases and the Ottoman Fear of Dynastic Extinction during the Early Sultanate of Ahmed I (r. 1603-17) by Günhan Börekçi
Epilepsy as a “Contagious Disease” in the Late Medieval and Early Modern Ottoman World by Özgen Felek
III. Responses to Epidemic Diseases
Religion and Ottoman Society’s Responses to Epidemics in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries by Yaron Ayalon
Plague in Eighteenth-Century Cairo: In Search of Burial and Memorial Sites by Edna Bonhomme
Nowhere to Run to, Nowhere to Hide?: Society, State, and Epidemic Diseases in the Early Nineteenth-Century Ottoman Balkans by Andrew Robarts
Cholera, Pilgrimage, and International Politics of Sanitation: The Quarantine Station on the Island of Kamaran by Gülden Sarıyıldız and Oya Dağlar Macar