Spotlight: Faisal Husain

Spotlight: Faisal Husain

Dr. Faisal Husain is an environmental historian of the Ottoman Empire, with a geographical focus on its eastern provinces in Anatolia and Iraq. He completed his undergraduate education at Penn State University and continued to obtain his master’s at Yale University and doctorate at Georgetown University.

Husain’s study of natural resources resulted in his first book, “Rivers of the Sultan.” The work explored the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers’ role in establishing Ottoman state institutions between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries.

His next book will examine how aridity shaped the establishment of Ottoman state institutions, including its robust agrarian economy. It will also consider how the Ottomans shaped their arid environmental systems through irrigation agriculture.

Husain explained that although the Ottoman Empire was a temperate one for its first 200 years, it eventually moved into arid regions of the Middle East from the Balkans and Western Anatolia.

Although rooted in the past, this book will touch on our present changing environment. Husain explains that aridity (the state of little or no rain) is not going away and will only worsen in some areas.

He believes we can learn from the past and avoid some of the climate-induced social and ethical ramifications faced during the Ottoman Empire. His work will assess how we can ensure equitable access to scarce resources.

Dr. Husain will bridge the gap between an ancient society and today’s warming planet in his new book, “An Environmental History of the Ottoman And Frontier,” releasing soon.