• Assistant Professor, History
  • Director, Middle East Center, Middle East Studies Program

Research Keywords

  • Ottoman Empire
  • Middle Eastern History
  • Indian Ocean
  • History of Islam
  • Environmental History
  • Arabian Peninsula


  • “The Global Crisis of Cholera and the Traumatic Birth of Modern Hajj Infrastructures,” part of a roundtable conversation with Hussam Dakkak and Sumayya Vally, “Accommodations: A Touring Exhibition from the Saudi Pavilion at the 17th International Architecture Exhibition (La Biennale di Venezia),” hosted in conjunction with the Saudi Ministry of Culture’s Diriyah Islamic Arts Biennale, January-April 2023, Hayy Jameel Art Gallery, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, 17-18 March 2023. Invited Talk/Keynote, Accepted, 02/25/2023.
  • “Imperial Mecca: Ottoman Arabia and the Indian Ocean Hajj,” Paul A. and Marie Castelfranco Lecture, Department of Religious Studies, University of California-Davis, 23 February 2023. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 02/23/2023.
  • Chair, “Climate, Water, and Ecology,” Middle East Studies Association, Denver, 4 December 2022. Other, Presented, 12/04/2022.
  • “From Steamship Empire to Saltwater Kingdoms: The Indian Ocean Routes of Fossil-Fueled Water in the Arabian Peninsula, 1800-2100,” Adaptation and Resilience to Climatic and Environmental Changes in the Indian Ocean World, Past to Present, Indian Ocean World Centre, McGill University, 25 May 2022. Conference Paper, Presented, 05/25/2022.
  • “Liquid Histories of Climate Risk and Adaptation in Anthropocene Arabia, Appraising Risk Summer School Workshop, Indian Ocean World Centre, McGill University, 24 May 2022. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 05/24/2022.
  • Book Talk, "Imperial Mecca: Ottoman Arabia and the Indian Ocean Hajj," UMASS Lowell, 28 April 2022. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 04/28/2022.
  • “Moving Beyond Bedouins and Broken Pipes: Writing the Water Infrastructures of Anthropocene Arabia,” Eurasian Empires Workshop, Stanford Humanities Center, Stanford University, 18 April 2022. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 04/18/2022.
  • “When the ‘Water Prince’ Brought an Iceberg to Iowa: Muhammad bin Faisal Al Saud’s Frozen Fantasies of Antarctic Arabia,” American Society for Environmental History, Eugene, Oregon, 24 March 2022. Conference Paper, Presented, 03/24/2022.
  • “The Well and the Water Machine: Liquid Histories of the Arabian Peninsula from Cholera to Climate Change,” Department of History, University of Utah, 21 January 2022. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 01/21/2022.
  • “Infrastructure and Water in the Arabian Peninsula: Rethinking Histories of Desalination, Energy, and Petro-State Development in the Shadow of Climate Change,” American Historical Association, New Orleans, 7 January 2022. Conference Paper, Presented, 01/07/2022.


  • Arabic, functional.
  • Ottoman Turkish (1500-1928), functional.
  • Persian, basic.
  • Turkish, functional.

Geographical Regions of Interest

  • Bahrain
  • India
  • Kuwait
  • Oman
  • Qatar
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Turkey
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Yemen


  • Imperial Mecca: Ottoman Arabia and the Indian Ocean Hajj, Columbia University Press, 2020. Published, 10/06/2020.
  • İmparatorluk Mekke’si: Osmanlı Hicaz’ı ve Hint Okyanusunda Hac. Turkish translation of Imperial Mecca: Ottoman Arabia and the Indian Ocean Hajj by Yunus Babacan. Istanbul: Telemak Kitap, 2023. 464 pages. Available in paperback. Published, 01/31/2023.
  • إدارة الحج إلى مكة: موضوع تجاذب بين السلطنة العثمانية والاستعمار الأوروبي. Arabic translation of Imperial Mecca: Ottoman Arabia and the Indian Ocean Hajj by Rabi‘ Hindi. Beirut: Arab Scientific Publishers, 2022. 470 pages. Available in paperback and e-book formats. Published, 02/21/2022.
  • Lâle Can, Michael Christopher Low, Kent F. Schull, and Robert Zens, eds., The Subjects of Ottoman International Law, Indiana University Press, 2020. Published, 10/13/2020.
  • “Deadly Journeys: Public Health and Mobility Regulation in the Age of Steam,” in Qaisra Khan with Nahla Nassar, eds., Hajj and the Arts of Pilgrimage: Essays in Honour of Nasser David Khalili (London: Gingko Library, forthcoming December 2023). Accepted, 10/19/2022.
  • “A Pilgrimage to the Fragile Future,” in “Parallel Pilgrimage: Reflections on the Space/Time of Shrines, with Bruce Grant, A. Azfar Moin, Catherine Wanner, Wei-ping Lin, Ismail Fajrie Alatas, and Michael Christopher Low,” In Dialogue, Roundtable hosted by Comparative Studies in Society and History, 2 August 2022. Published, 08/02/2022.
  • “Desert Dreams of Drinking the Sea, Consumed by the Cold War: Transnational Flows of Energy and Desalination from the Pacific to the Persian Gulf,” Environment and History 26, no. 2 (2020): 145-174. Published, 05/01/2020.
  • “The Infidel Piloting the True Believer: Thomas Cook and the Business of the Colonial Hajj,” in Umar Ryad, ed., The Hajj and Europe in the Age of Empires (Leiden: Brill, 2017), 47-80. Published, 01/01/2017.
  • Lâle Can and Michael Christopher Low, “The ‘Subjects’ of Ottoman International Law,” Journal of the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association 3, no. 2 (2016): 223-234. Published, 11/01/2016.
  • “Unfurling the Flag of Extraterritoriality: Autonomy, Foreign Muslims, and the Capitulations in the Ottoman Hijaz,” Journal of the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association 3, no. 2 (2016): 299-323. Published, 11/01/2016.
  • “Ottoman Infrastructures of the Saudi Hydro-State: The Technopolitics of Pilgrimage and Potable Water in the Hijaz,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 57, no. 4 (October 2015): 942-974. Published, 10/05/2015.
  • “The Indian Ocean and Other Middle Easts,” Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 34, no. 3 (2014/2015): 549-555. Published, 12/01/2014.
  • “Mecca: Pilgrimage and the Making of the Islamic World, 400-1500,” in Aran MacKinnon and Elaine MacKinnon, eds., Places of Encounter: Time, Place and Connectivity in World History, vol. 1 (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2012), 127-144. Published, 03/20/2012.
  • “Empire and the Hajj: Pilgrims, Plagues, and Pan-Islam under British Surveillance, 1865-1908,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 40, no. 2 (2008): 269-290. Published, 05/01/2008.