The Animal in Ottoman Egypt

Front Cover
OUP USA, 2014 - History - 315 pages
Animals in Ottoman Egypt examines the multiple changing relationships between humans and animals in a place that affords perhaps the longest documentary record of the human-animal relationship. Egypt was home to the world's first zoo (circa 2500 BCE), one of the oldest religions to incorporateanimal forms, and perhaps the first domesticated dogs. During the crucial centuries of Ottoman rule in Egypt between 1517 and 1882, the changing relationships between humans and animals were central to the transformation of Egypt from an early modern society fully ensconced in an Ottoman imperialsystem of rule to a nineteenth-century centralizing state. Egypt in this period transitioned from being an early modern world characterized primarily by intense human-animal interactions to being one in which this relationship was no longer the basis of commercial and social life. The results ofthis transition were a fundamental reordering of political, economic, social, and ecological power. This book thus seeks to explain one of the most important historical transitions of the last 500 years through the story of changes to one of the most historically significant of human relationships -those with other animals.This history also makes evident how what happened to animals in Ottoman Egypt would eventually happen to certain kinds of humans. Just as livestock, dogs, and elephants were stripped of their constructive social and economic functions in the early nineteenth century, so too were Egyptian peasants,the uneducated, the disabled, the poor, the sick, the criminal, and the itinerant cut out of the productive social and economic realms of Egypt later in the century. As their animal counterparts were confined in veterinary holding pens and the zoo, these humans would be subjected to similarnineteenth-century projects of enclosure - the prison, asylum, conscription camp, hospital, and school. As the social became more strictly, vigorously, and narrowly defined, fewer living human and nonhuman beings were given access to it and its borders came to be more intensely defended throughviolence, coercion, and discipline. Thus, Ottoman Egypt's transition to modernity was a wrenching and painful experience for most animals and humans alike. The story of what happened to the animal in Ottoman Egypt is also the story of what happened to the human - a story of the animal in all ofus.
 

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Contents

Cephalopods in the Nile
1
BURDENED AND BEASTLY
17
BARK AND BITE
65
CHARISMA AND CAPITAL
107
The Human Ends
177
Notes
183
Bibliography
267
Index
307
Copyright

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About the author (2014)


Alan Mikhail is Professor of History at Yale University. He is the author of Nature and Empire in Ottoman Egypt: An Environmental History, which won the Roger Owen Book Award of the Middle East Studies Association, and editor of Water on Sand: Environmental Histories of the Middle East and North Africa.

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