Natural Disasters in the Ottoman Empire

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Cambridge University Press, 2015 - History - 245 pages
This book explores the history of natural disasters in the Ottoman Empire and the responses to them on the state, communal, and individual levels. Yaron Ayalon argues that religious boundaries between Muslims and non-Muslims were far less significant in Ottoman society than commonly believed. Furthermore, the emphasis on Islamic principles and the presence of Islamic symbols in the public domain were measures the state took to enhance its reputation and political capital - occasional discrimination of non-Muslims was only a by-product of these measures. This study sheds new light on flight and behavioral patterns in response to impending disasters by combining historical evidence with studies in social psychology and sociology. Employing an approach that mixes environmental and social history with the psychology of disasters, this work asserts that the handling of such disasters was crucial to both the rise and the fall of the Ottoman Empire.


The Black Death and the Rise of the Ottomans
Natural Disasters and the Ottoman State
Natural Disasters and Ottoman Communities
Individuals Face Disasters
Natural Disasters at the End of Empire

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About the author (2015)

Yaron Ayalon is an Assistant Professor of History at Ball State University, Indiana. He previously taught at Emory University, Atlanta and the University of Oklahoma. He has published articles in edited volumes and in journals such as the International Journal of Middle East Studies, the Journal of Ottoman Studies, Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, and Die Welt des Islams. He has presented his research at the annual conferences of the Middle East Studies Association, the American Historical Association, and the Association for Jewish Studies. He has also served as an editor for the Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World.