Mikhail was one of eight researchers selected from 111 nominees for this award. Each award is valued at €250,000 and is granted to outstanding humanities scholars and social scientists who are nominated by collaborative partners at German universities and research institutions. The award is designed to finance research collaboration over a period of up to five years with specialist colleagues in Germany. Funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, it seeks to help promote the internationalization of the humanities and social sciences in Germany.
Mikhail combines research on the history of the Middle East with environmental history, gaining access to completely new research fields. He describes, for example, how Egypt’s interaction with nature and natural resources like water and wood had an impact on Ottoman domination from the 16th to 19th centuries. His most recent studies on Egyptian history in this period have also generated new thinking.
He has investigated, amongst others, the eruption of Iceland’s Laki Craters in 1783-1784 which, up to now, has largely been studied with reference to its impact on the climate and economy of Europe. Mikhail also traces the connections between the volcanic eruption in Iceland and drought and hunger in the Middle East.
In his role as an Anneliese Maier Research Award Winner, Mikhail will drive research on environmental and Ottoman history in Germany as well as enhancing the international visibility of research at Yale.