MESA Book Awards
University of Virginia
2022 Nikki Keddie Book Award Co-Winner
The Unsettled Plain: An Environmental History of the Late Ottoman Frontier
Stanford University Press
The Unsettled Plain: An Environmental History of the Late Ottoman Frontier is a groundbreaking study of the southern Anatolian region of Cilicia and its inhabitants from the mid-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries. Combining elements of microhistory with the concerns of environmental history and contributing as well to histories of capitalism, nationalism, migration and displacement, Chris Gratien presents not just a history of a particular place in the late Ottoman Empire, but a vivid history of the late Ottoman Empire from the vantage point of this “internal frontier.” Based on a dizzying array of sources—from archival documents to folksong lyrics, written in (Ottoman) Turkish, Armenian, Arabic, French, and English—the book matches virtuosic, highly original research with narrative flair and deep empathy, highlighting the often tragic experiences of Cilicia’s historically and historiographically marginalized peoples during a period of dramatic change.