- Imagined Geographies, Re-invented Histories: Ottoman Iraq as Part of Iran
- Journal of the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association
- Indiana University Press
- Volume 5, Number 1, Spring 2018
- pp. 115-141
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- Additional Information
This article investigates how specific knowledge production (in history, geography, and archaeology) during Nasir al-Din Shah's reign (r.1848–96) contributed to Ottoman Iraq being historically imagined as part of Iran. This was reasserted textually, visually, and performatively through textual and photographic productions as well as through travel by Qajar statesmen and even the shah himself. In particular, the Qajar state appropriated Sasanian and Achaemenid histories to delimit Ottoman Iraq as part of an Iranian historical geography among other places which were outside of Qajar spatial territory but were included in its imagined geography. Analyzing the main Qajar court-sanctioned geographical texts, maps, travelogues, and photographs, it is argued that the many new technologies of rule utilized by colonial European empires were also employed by the non-European Qajar Empire, concluding that non-European empires were actively involved in redefining and utilizing new means of assertion of sovereignty in the inter-imperial system of the late nineteenth century.