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The Limits of Quarantine in Late Ottoman Iraq
During the nineteenth century, pandemics of cholera and plague convinced Ottoman officials of the value of using quarantines to prevent the spread of these diseases within Ottoman territory. This was especially the case in the empire’s Iraqi provinces, which were often hard hit by recurring outbreaks of cholera and plague. While quarantines played an important role in extending the presence of the modernizing Ottoman state in the physical margins of the empire, Ottoman authority through public health institutions was never fully complete. Ottoman subjects and foreigners alike often resisted Ottoman quarantine measures. This paper focuses on the limits of Ottoman quarantine measures in Iraq by highlighting examples of resistance to Ottoman quarantines. In the process, it engages with recent work in the comparative history of quarantine by offering case studies from the Ottoman Iraq to further theorize resistance as a phenomenon in the broader history of health, medicine, and disease.
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19th-21st Centuries