In this presentation, Ulrike Freitag introduces her recent book, A History of Jeddah (CUP 2020). The city is characterized by a specific brand of cosmopolitanism which resulted from its unique position as a hub of trade and Muslim pilgrimage. Before the oil boom, this was reflected in the population, but also in the urban fabric and social interactions. One major concern of the different rulers of the city was public health in an age of cholera pandemics. This was, in the imperial age, linked to Western attempts at controlling pilgrims and trade.
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Ulrike Freitag is a historian of the modern Middle East and the director of Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient in conjunction with a professorship at Freie Universität Berlin (since 2002). While her early work was on Syrian historiography, she has since focussed on the Arabia Peninsula in a translocal perspective, authoring Indian Ocean Migrants and State Formation in Hadhramaut (Leiden 2003). Her recent work has concentrated on urban history and culture in Saudi Arabia.