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1981
1-2: Iraq and the Maladies of Archives
  • ISSN: 2515-8538
  • E-ISSN: 2515-8546

Abstract

This article explores how Ottoman sources can help us reconsider geographies of belonging in the history of Iraq. Focusing on two figures often excluded from conventional histories of Iraq – Mubārak al-Ṣabāḥ of Kuwait, and Khaz‘al bin Jābir of Muḥammara – it investigates how late imperial belonging was tied to the consolidation of property in land and how the political economy of land was tied to an emerging international system. The article reads these sources alongside non-state sources to understand how competing conceptions of Ottoman space and identity together shaped political and economic belonging in the ‘Gulf of Basra’. At the same time, the article argues that historians should be wary of the pitfalls of ‘methodological Ottomanism’ in using the Ottoman past to rewrite the histories of Ottoman Iraq. The ‘Ottoman’ should be treated as an open question, and bringing together multiple Ottoman archives is one way to do that.

Funding
This study was supported by the:
  • Ph.D. fellowship at Koç University’s Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations (ANAMED)
  • Fulbright Turkey research fellowship
  • Yale University’s Macmillan Center for International and Area Studies
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2022-06-01
2024-07-19
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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): archives; Basra; Iraq; land; nationality; Ottoman Empire; political economy
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