2022 Vienna

Third NEHT Workshop 2022

Environmental Histories of the Ottoman and post-Ottoman World

The Anthropocene: From Empire to Nation-States

Workshop – University of Vienna 8-10 September 2022
Keynote :
John McNeill (Georgetown University)
Building the Anthropocene:
A Global Environmental History of Industrialization, 1780—1920

See program here

Environmental history is a growing field of study for scholars of the Ottoman Empire and nation-states in the post-Ottoman territories, especially Turkey. Over the past decade, environmental history has emerged as one of the most significant sub-fields of Ottoman-Turkish history. After successful meetings in Hamburg (2017) and Ankara (2019), we are happy to announce that the 3rd Network for the Study of Environmental History of Turkey (NEHT) Workshop will take place in Vienna in 2021.

The workshop, organised by the Professor of Turkish Studies at the University of Vienna, will bring together scholars of Ottoman and post-Ottoman environmental history, whose research interests converge around the concept of the Anthropocene. Under the overarching theme The Anthropocene: From Empire to Nation-States, the 3rd NEHT workshop will discuss the ways of integrating the concept of the Anthropocene into the field of Ottoman/post-Ottoman environmental history. It will open a space for analysing the role of human activities in transforming the Ottoman/post-Ottoman landscapes in the age of the Anthropocene.

The major aim of the 3rd NEHT workshop is to provide an international and interdisciplinary forum; and therefore, it is open to a wide range of disciplines, fields, approaches, subjects, and methodologies.

Possible topics for paper and panel proposals include, but are not limited to:

  • The Anthropocene within the context of the Ottoman and post-Ottoman world
  • Urban and rural environmental history
  • Histories of water, soil, forests and mines
  • History of climate and climate change
  • Human-animal relationships, animals and history
  • History of technology and envirotechnical systems
  • History of medicine, health and disease
  • Environmental histories of gender, labour and inequality
  • History of consumption, waste and dirt
  • History of conservation and management
  • Environmental conflicts, environmental movements and environmental activism
  • Environmental histories of wars, armed conflicts and violence
  • Ecology and Ottoman/Turkish literature
  • Theories, methods, approaches and sources in Ottoman/Turkish environmental history


8 September 2022

Venue: Alte Kapelle, Campus der Universität Wien, Hof 2.8

15:00-16:00 Registration

16:00 Opening and Welcome
Eva Horn (Vienna Anthropocene Network, University of Vienna), Onur İnal (University of Vienna), Yavuz Köse (University of Vienna)

16:15-17:00 Keynote
John McNeill (Georgetown University)
Building the Anthropocene: A Global Environmental History of Industrialization, 1780—1920

With an introduction by
Eva Horn (University of Vienna)

17:30 Welcome Reception

9 September 2022

Venue: SR 1, Institut für Afrikawissenschaften, Campus der Universität Wien, Hof 5.1

Panel 1: Imperial Policies and Local Practices
Chair: Zozan Pehlivan (University of Minnesota)

Thomas Kuehn (Simon Fraser University)
Local Environmental Knowledge in the Service of Imperial Rule: The Case of Ottoman Yemen, 1872-1914

Elçin Arabacı (Independent Researcher)
Dispossession, Violence and Usurpation of the Commons “Under the Claws of Edhem Pasha’s Oppression” in Yenişehir District of Hüdavendigar Vilayet (1890-1922)

Önder Eren Akgül (Kadir Has University)
“Murder, Injury, and War” on the Menderes River: Violence and Dispossession during the Droughts of the Late 19th Century

Elizabeth Williams (University of Massachusetts Lowell)
Environment Challenges and Rural Administration in the late Ottoman Eastern Mediterranean

Panel 2: Alternative Sources, New Perspectives
Chair: Mehmet Kuru (Sabancı University)

Alperen Arslan (Central European University)
Measuring Empire: The Emergence of Climate Science in the Ottoman Empire

Zeynep Akçakaya (Independent Researcher)
Reapproaching the Issue of “Çiftlikization”: Sheep, Floods, Merchants and the State in Mihaliç

Özlem Sert (Hacettepe University)
Water the Transparent Actor in Sugar Production; Climate Variability, Cash Crops, Mills and the Industry

13:00-14:30 Lunch Break

Panel 3: Technologies and Infrastructures
Chair: Gisela Procházka-Eisl (University of Vienna)

Hümeyra Bostan-Berber (Marmara University / University of Cambridge)
Environmental Challenges to the Construction of the Bosphorus Forts

Ecem Doygun (Yıldız Technical University)
From Empire to Nation-State: The Transformation of the Urban Water System between 1880-1950

Nurçin İleri (Forum Transregionale Studien / Humboldt University)
An Environmental Undertaking of Istanbul’s Electrical Grid from Empire to Nation-State

Deniz Armağan Akto (Bilkent University)
Ottoman Solutions to the Environmental Challenges of the Danube and Utilization of the River in the Early Modern Period

Panel 4: Istanbul and the Environment
Chair: Brett Wilson (Central European University)

Mustafa Emir Küçük (Boğaziçi University)
Urban Parks in Late Ottoman Istanbul

Ayşe Nur Akdal (Boğaziçi University)
Rethinking the Urban-Rural Linkages: Change in Fresh Food Supply Patterns of Istanbul since the Late Nineteenth Century

Berin Gölönü (University at Buffalo)
The Picturesque Garden and its Transformation into a Symbol of Urbanization during the Late Ottoman Empire

Mehmet Kentel (Istanbul Research Institute)
Champs des Morts, Jardins des Vivants?: An Environmental History of Pera’s Cemeteries in the Nineteenth Century

19:00 Welcome Dinner

10 September 2022

Venue: SR 1, Institut für Afrikawissenschaften, Campus der Universität Wien, Hof 5.1

Panel 5: The Levantine Coast
Chair: Yavuz Köse (University of Vienna)

Dotan Halevy (The Polonsky Academy, Van Leer Jerusalem Institute)
Settling Sands: The Ecological Alienation of Native Rights in Coastal Dunes

On Barak (Tel Aviv University)
The Discovery of the Levantine Beach

Or Aleksandrowicz (Technion – Israel Institute of Technology)
From Stone to Sand: The Role of Local Raw Materials in the Modernized Building of Palestine’s Coastal Areas

Mona Bieling (Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies Geneva)
Development from Shore to Shore: Palestine Potash Ltd.’s Impact on the Palestinian Landscape, 1930-1948

Panel 6: Human-Animal Encounters
Chair: Jeanine Dağyeli (University of Vienna)

S. Doğan Karakelle (Independent Researcher)
Animal-Human Languages and the Anthropocene: Interspecies Communication and the Making of the Imperial Ecosystems in Early-Modern Ottoman Books on Animals

Deniz Dölek Sever (Zonguldak Bülent Ecevit University)
A Legal Overview of Animal-Human Relations: Regulations on Animal Theft in the Late Ottoman Empire

12:30-14:00 Lunch Break

Panel 7: Environmental Anxieties
Chair: Onur İnal (University of Vienna)

Andras Vadas (Eötvös Loránd University)
The Ottoman-Habsburg Wars and Forests in the Carpathian Basin

Elvan Cobb (Hong Kong Baptist University)
Winter Torrents to Malignant Fevers: Environmental Anxieties along the Early Ottoman Railways

Sarah Irving (Edge Hill University)
Scientific and Popular Debates on Earthquake Science: The 1927 Jericho Earthquake

15:30 NEHT Meeting and Social Program

Programme Committee

Onur İnal, University of Vienna

Yavuz Köse, University of Vienna

Eva Horn, University of Vienna

Zozan Pehlivan, University of Minnesota

Semih Çelik, Koç University Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations


For additional information about the workshop and the venue, please contact

Dr. Onur İnal
Department of Near Eastern Studies
University of Vienna

The workshop is a collaboration between the NEHT, the Department of Near Eastern Studies at the University of Vienna, the Vienna Anthropocene Network, Stadt Wien Kultur, Campus Aktuell, the Austrian Research Association (ÖFG), the European Society for Environmental History (ESEH), the Centre for Environmental History (ZUG), the Environmental History Cluster Austria (EHCA) and the University of Vienna.The 3rd NEHT workshop is certified under the Austrian Eco-Label for Green Meetings and Green Events. We aim to organize the workshop according to the criteria of this quality label. We would be pleased, if you would approve with these efforts and also support them from your side.