Environmental history, the study of the interaction of nature and society, is a research field that has only recently been applied to Mamlūk studies. It seeks to elucidate all aspects of relations between humans and their physical surroundings: agriculture, subsistence and water management, as well as the discourse about nature and coping of governors and communities with ecological hazards and catastrophes. Since it is anachronistic to use national unites and contemporary borders, this approach is particularly suitable to the study of pre-modern states, lands and societies, like the Mamlūk Bilād al-Shām. This paper aims first to map the field and the present state of the art. Its second goal is to delineate potential working theses and research topics that would guide further environmental studies. These investigations would bolster the study of history of rural and urban communities in the east Mediterranean and Near Eastern zone during a quarter of a millennium (1250–1517).
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© 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
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