Thesis ID: CBB992804588

Petroleum, Health, and Power: The Anglo-Persian Oil Company and the Colonial Dimensions of Company Medicine in Iran, 1902–1931 (2022)


Abrahamian, Ervand (Advisor)
Azimi, Arman (Author)

Abrahamian, Ervand
New York, City University of
Publication date: 2022
Language: English

Publication Date: 2022
Physical Details: 346

Petroleum, Health, and Power: The Anglo-Persian Oil Company and the Colonial Dimensions of Company Medicine in Iran, 1902–1931 investigates the medical and public health work of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (APOC, later Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC), today BP) in southwest Iran in the period prior to the Iranian central government’s assumption of control over public health in the region. To ensure that its operations functioned without disruption, the British-owned oil company constructed an extensive and integrated medical infrastructure and carried out substantial public health programs. Based on archival material from the BP Archive and the National Library and Archives of Iran, this dissertation contends that APOC’s medical and public health work was foundational to its successful establishment and the consolidation of its preeminent position in Iran. It demonstrates that in its pursuit of public health aims, APOC implemented regimes of surveillance, discipline, and coercion that extended beyond the spaces of work. The oil company engaged in governance of populations through public health, functioning as a state in southwest Iran during a period in which the administrative reach of the Iranian central government was effectively absent from the oil-bearing territories. This story sheds new light on the extent of APOC’s influence in Iran by deepening understanding of the sociocultural dimensions of the Company’s power. More broadly, by considering the oil company’s presence in Iran through the prism of health, this study invites rethinking of the conceptual distinctions between modern states and companies and calls for further scholarly investigation of companies as key actors in the global proliferation of modern medicine and public health.

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Authors & Contributors
Bourmaud, Philippe
Alter, Joseph S.
Blecher, Robert Ian
Edwards, Penny
Espinosa, Mariola
Gallagher, Nancy Elizabeth
Canadian Bulletin of Medical History/Bulletin Canadienne d'Histoire de la Medecine
Asian Medicine: Tradition and Modernity
International Journal of Middle East Studies
Journal of Burma Studies
Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History
Journal of Medical Biography
University of Chicago Press
Stanford University
New York, City University of
New York University
Palgrave Macmillan
University of Pittsburgh Press
Medicine and politics
Public health
Disease and diseases
Medicine and society
Jamot, Eugene
Young, Morris
Time Periods
20th century, early
19th century
20th century
Middle and Near East
League of Nations
Anglo-Persian Oil Company

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