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Grant number: FT-60666-13

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Sahar Bazzaz
College of the Holy Cross (Worcester, MA 01610-2395)

Natural History, Local Knowledge and Global Science in the Middle East (18th-20th Centuries)

My project examines the roles of indigenous Middle Eastern interlocutors in European natural history expeditions, whose local botanical and geographical knowledge was crucial for the success of these scientific expeditions in the Middle East. The research is based on a rich yet under-utilized corpus of French and English-language botanical and geographic surveys of Middle Eastern flora and fauna as well as Ottoman state archives in Turkish and Arabic. In recent years historians have begun to highlight the intimate relationship between the field of natural history and associated methodologies (taxonomy), on one hand, and imperial conquest, global trade-networks, and inter-imperial rivalries, on another. My project will result in original research that addresses a major lacuna in this cutting-edge field of history by focusing on European botanical collecting in the Middle East during the early era of western imperialism (late 18th-20th centuries) in the region.

Project fields:
History, General

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

Total amounts:
$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
8/1/2013 – 9/30/2013