Skip to main content

Camille Cole

Assistant Professor
  • About
  • Education
  • Awards & Honors
  • Research


I am a historian of capitalism, law, and empire in the modern Middle East and late Ottoman Empire. I earned my PhD in history from Yale University, and held a postdoctoral fellowship at Jesus College, Cambridge before coming to Illinois State.

In addition to my own research, I collaborate on the digital humanities projects Svoboda Diaries Project ( and Open Gulf ( Students interested in working with me on either project should be in touch!

Current Courses

105.003World History

105.004World History

Teaching Interests & Areas

world history, economic history, Middle East history

Research Interests & Areas

My first book project looks at how wealthy people in late Ottoman Iraq and the Persian Gulf used new legal and bureaucratic tools to accumulate capital and land; and how they used the resulting conflicts to talk about identity and belonging in new ways.

My second project examines resource and infrastructural concessions in the Ottoman Middle East and post-independence Latin America.

I have written more broadly on histories of technology, capital, state expansion, and archives in the late Ottoman Gulf.


Yale University
New Haven, CT

MA History

Yale University
New Haven, CT

M Phil

University of Cambridge
Cambridge, UK


Pomona College
Claremont, CA

Gwenn Okruhlik Dissertation Award

Association for Gulf and Arabian Peninsula Studies

Joel A. Tarr Envirotech Article Prize for best article on the relationship between technology and the environment

Envirotech Group, Society for the History of Technology / American Society for Environmental History

Book Review

Cole, C. Review of Chris Gratien, The Unsettled Plain: An Environmental History of the Late Ottoman Frontier. International Journal of Middle East Studies (2023)
Cole, C. Review of Faisal Husain, Rivers of the Sultan: The Tigris and Euphrates in the Ottoman Empire. H-Water (2023)
Cole, C. Review of Arbella Bet-Shlimon, City of Black Gold: Oil, Ethnicity, and the Making of Modern Kirkuk. Journal of Contemporary Iraq and the Arab World (2020)
Cole, C. From Forest to Delta: Recent Themes in South Asian Environmental History. South Asian History and Culture 7 (2016): 208-19.

Journal Article

Cole, C., Barakat, N., Ammagui, N., & Wrisley, D. Mapping Tribes: Spatial Thinking in Ottoman Iraq and Arabia. Journal of the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association 9 (2023): 205-42.
Cole, C. The Ottoman Archive and Methodological Ottomanism in the History of Iraq. The Journal of Contemporary Iraq and the Arab World 16 (2022): 23-42.
Cole, C. The Ottoman Model: Basra and the Making of Qajar Reform, 1881-1889. Comparative Studies in Society and History 64 (2022): 1024-54.
Fields, S., Cole, C., Oei, C., & Chen, A. Using Named Entity Recognition and Network Analysis to Distinguish Personal Networks from the Social Milieu in Personal Diaries. Digital Scholarship in the Humanities 38 (2022): 66-86.
Cole, C. Nafia for the Tigris: The Privy Purse and the Infrastructure of Development in Late Ottoman Iraq, 1882-1914. History of Science (2021)