Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Stephen H. Rapp - Chair

Second Advisor

Donald M. Reid


From roughly 1865 to 1926, the forces of European imperialism brought the Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca under the scrutiny of non-Muslim interests. The driving force behind this dramatic change was the expansion of the British Empire’s maritime supremacy in the Indian Ocean basin. With the development of steamship travel and the opening of the Suez Canal, colonial authorities became increasingly involved in the surveillance of seaborne pilgrims. During this period, the hajj came to be recognized as both the primary conduit for the spread of epidemic diseases, such as cholera and plague, and a critical outlet for the growth of Pan-Islamic networks being forged between Indian dissidents, pilgrims, and the Ottoman Empire. As a result, the British and Ottoman empires engaged in a struggle for control of the hajj, which would ultimately reshape both the hajj and the political landscapes of the Middle East and South Asia.


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