Title

Rethinking Disease In Ottoman History

Abstract

Drawing on a range of recent studies and original sources, this article calls for a revision of the usual paradigm of disease in Ottoman history by applying a more interdisciplinary approach and new insights from environmental history. The historiography of disease in the Middle East developed from the late 1970s to the early 1990s envisioned a steady mortality from inevitable cycles of bubonic plague supposedly accepted with pious resignation by Ottoman Muslims. Focusing on the period from circa 1500 to 1800, the article advances three arguments. First, Ottoman Muslims sometimes did take action to escape or contain epidemics. Second, the region actually suffered from a variety of other infections that together had an equal or greater impact than bubonic plague. Third, shifting political, social, and environmental conditions-especially Little Ice Age climate fluctuations and population movements during the 17th century-played a major role in disease mortality and Ottoman demography.

Publisher

Cambridge University Press

Publication Date

11-1-2010

Publication Title

International Journal Of Middle East Studies

Department

History

Document Type

Article

DOI

10.1017/S0020743810000814

Keywords

17th century, Black Death, Anatolia, 16th century

Language

English

Format

text

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