Work Camps and Company Towns: Case Study – Abadan | Ian Seccombe & Richard Lawless

WORK CAMPS AND COMPANY TOWNS: THE IMPACT OF THE OIL INDUSTRY ON SETTLEMENT PATTERNS IN THE PERSIAN GULF by Ian Seccombe & Richard Lawless Of the new towns in the Persian gulf created following the discovery and development of the region's oil resources, Abadan was by far the most important and experienced the most spectacular... Continue Reading →

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WORK CAMPS AND COMPANY TOWNS: Khuzestan, Iran | Ian Seccombe & Richard Lawless

WORK CAMPS AND COMPANY TOWNS: THE IMPACT OF THE OIL INDUSTRY ON SETTLEMENT PATTERNS IN THE PERSIAN GULF by Ian Seccombe & Richard Lawless   In the second half of the nineteenth century, Khuzestan was one of the least developed provinces in Persia and the great majority of the population lived in absolute poverty.  The... Continue Reading →

The story of a 19th-century Iranian Shaikh who lost his Shaikhdom […] |Louis Allday

Shaikh Khaz’al bin Jābir bin Mirdāw al-Ka‘bī was loyal to the British hoping they would help him – but they didn’t. Originally Published in British Library’s Untold Lives blog. / Scrool.in by  Louis Allday The Qatar Digital Library has digitised a number of sources concerning the life and times of Shaikh Khaz’al bin Jābir bin Mirdāw al-Ka‘bī (1861-1936), the Emir of... Continue Reading →

Abadan: A Case Study in Pseudo Colonial Architecture

Parham Karimi — Master of Architecture, University of Toronto (Corresponding Author) Hamid Afshar — Master of Archeology, Tarbiat Modares University Iranology Foundation, Research Department of Art and Architecture - Fall 2017 The built environment constructed around oil fields are important on many levels. They have influenced the lifestyle of many people who have worked and lived in... Continue Reading →

Abadan: Oil City Dreams and the Nostalgia for Past Futures in Iran (Part One) | Rasmus Christian Elling — ABADAN RETOLD

by Rasmus Christian Elling Originally published in ABADAN RETOLD This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at www.ajammc.com. PART ONE: What if oil is magic? Sure, we are used to think of oil as a curse disguised as a blessing: as oil is extracted and refined, it turns... Continue Reading →

The Early Beginnings of Modern Abadan | Willem Floor — ABADAN RETOLD

by Willem Floor Originally published in ABADAN RETOLD This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Before oil. The island of ‘Abbadan, as it was usually known in its Arabic form, was locally more commonly called Jazirat al-Khizr or Khezr island.[1] The maraqqat ‘Abbadan or ‘Abbadan reef was well known to mariners sailing into... Continue Reading →

Crossing the Lines: the Bahmashir Incident

  ON LINES AND FENCES: LABOUR, COMMUNITY AND VIOLENCE IN AN OIL CITY Rasmus Christian Elling Published in: Urban Violence in the Middle East   On 19 December 1942, two separate episodes of violence led to the Bahmashir Incident. In subsequent reports, the Labour Superintendent recounted that around 2 p.m., three Indian soldiers had gone... Continue Reading →

Drawing the Lines: Spatial Politics of Coercion

  ON LINES AND FENCES: LABOUR, COMMUNITY AND VIOLENCE IN AN OIL CITY Rasmus Christian Elling Published in: Urban Violence in the Middle East       The horrible living conditions of most oil workers in the early days of the Concession are a well-known topic.[50] Indeed, the Company’s unwillingness or inability to provide adequate... Continue Reading →

Violence in the Lines: Order and Disorder

  ON LINES AND FENCES: LABOUR, COMMUNITY AND VIOLENCE IN AN OIL CITY Rasmus Christian Elling Published in: Urban Violence in the Middle East   The working conditions in Khuzestan were harsh, with long summers dominated by extreme heat and tasks that entailed significant risks and dangers. Work hours were long, breaks few and holidays... Continue Reading →

ON LINES AND FENCES: LABOUR, COMMUNITY AND VIOLENCE IN AN OIL CITY

Rasmus Christian Elling Published in: Urban Violence in the Middle East Abadan refinery electrical shop foreman, Iran, 1945. Dmitri Kessel—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images In December 1942, unrest broke out in Abadan, arguably Iran’s first modern industrial city and home to the world’s biggest oil refinery. Two scuffles in the bazaar provoked Iranians from the... Continue Reading →

Arab Mobilization and the Politics of Fear

  War of Clubs: Struggle for Space in Abadan and the 1946 Oil Strike Rasmus Christian Elling, University of Copenhagen Published in: Violence and the City in the Modern Middle East Throughout 1946, Arab sheikhs repeatedly complained to the Company about Tudeh’s aggressive campaigning. In Abadan’s rural hinterland, Arabs violently confronted itinerant Tudeh propagandists, and... Continue Reading →

Tribes, Workers and Unrest in the Oil City

  War of Clubs: Struggle for Space in Abadan and the 1946 Oil Strike Rasmus Christian Elling, University of Copenhagen Published in: Violence and the City in the Modern Middle East   By the 1910s, a modus vivendi had been established between the Company and Sheikh Khaz’al. The former lent the latter recognition, external protection,... Continue Reading →

Securing Output: Abadan under the Company’s Aegis

War of Clubs: Struggle for Space in Abadan and the 1946 Oil Strike Rasmus Christian Elling, University of Copenhagen Published in: Violence and the City in the Modern Middle East   Abadan’s modern history is inextricably tied to that of the Anglo-Persian— later Anglo-Iranian—Oil Company (henceforth, “the Company”). When oil was struck in Iran in... Continue Reading →

Senior Management (Fraser)

  From "Oil Nationalisation and Managerial Disclosure: The Case of Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, 1933-1951" Chapter 2: AIOC History, oil and Iranian politics. AUTHOR: NEVEEN  ABDELREHIM | THE UNIVERSITY OF YORK   As mentioned earlier in this chapter, the AIOC had no clear founder-chairmen or founding family because William Knox D‟Arcy financed the exploration in Persia... Continue Reading →

The D’Arcy concession, AIOC’s domination in Iran

From "Oil Nationalisation and Managerial Disclosure: The Case of Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, 1933-1951" Chapter 2: AIOC History, oil and Iranian politics. AUTHOR: NEVEEN  ABDELREHIM | THE UNIVERSITY OF YORK The D’Arcy concession In 1901, William Knox D‟Arcy, the son of an Irish solicitor and a millionaire London socialite was the real founder of the AIOC[113].... Continue Reading →

Labour Activism Encounters Nationalism

Credit: Touraj Atabaki from "Studies in History: Far from Home, But at Home: Indian Migrant Workers in the Iranian Oil Industry" source: Jawaharlal Nehru University. The dialectics between nationalism and labour movements during colonial rule in Asia and Africa have been the subject of a few major studies.[63] Increasingly, large-scale labour migrations became a feature... Continue Reading →

Abadan, a Triple City

Credit: Touraj Atabaki from "Studies in History: Far from Home, But at Home: Indian Migrant Workers in the Iranian Oil Industry" source: Jawaharlal Nehru University.   In her seminal study of colonial urbanization in Morocco, Janet Lughod refers to Rabat as a dual city, with sharply segregated urban spaces of the colonizer and the colonized.[48]... Continue Reading →

Far from Home, But at Home: Indian Migrant Workers in the Iranian Oil Industry

Credit: Touraj Atabaki from "Studies in History: Far from Home, But at Home: Indian Migrant Workers in the Iranian Oil Industry" source: Jawaharlal Nehru University.   Abstract This article revisits the life and times of Indian migrant workers in Persia/Iran during the first half of the twentieth century, and discusses their contributions to the founding,... Continue Reading →

Production of Place as a Contested Process

Credit: Kaveh Ehsani, Leiden University From “The social history of labor in the Iranian oil industry : the built environment and the making of the industrial working class (1908-1941)” Place is a social construct that both constitutes and is constituted by social relations (see chapter 1). The production of place and the interpretation of its... Continue Reading →

The Urban Process in Abadan 1929-1941

Credit: Kaveh Ehsani, Leiden University From “The social history of labor in the Iranian oil industry : the built environment and the making of the industrial working class (1908-1941)” After highly protracted and contentious negotiations that began in 1928 the Iranian government granted a new 60-year oil concession to APOC in 1933. At one point... Continue Reading →

Successive Waves of Industrialization and Labor Activism

Credit: Kaveh Ehsani, Leiden University From “The social history of labor in the Iranian oil industry : the built environment and the making of the industrial working class (1908-1941)” The history of industrialization in the interwar era can be roughly divided into two periods: 1919-1931 and 1931-1941. In the first period, the government facilitated and... Continue Reading →

Labor Activism in the interwar years

Credit: Kaveh Ehsani, Leiden University From “The social history of labor in the Iranian oil industry : the built environment and the making of the industrial working class (1908-1941)” The consolidation of the oil complex brought with it new forms of labor activism among the industrial working class. The new collective political agency of the... Continue Reading →

Patching Together a Fragmented Provincial Geography with Guns and Oil

Credit: Kaveh Ehsani, Leiden University From “The social history of labor in the Iranian oil industry : the built environment and the making of the industrial working class (1908-1941)”   In 1924 the Prime Minister Reza Khan visited APOC installations at Abadan and the Fields and was received formally and with eager hospitality by the... Continue Reading →

Taking Stock of the State of Knowledge, Evaluating Sources, and What Remains to be Done

  Credit: Kaveh Ehsani, Leiden University From “The social history of labor in the Iranian oil industry : the built environment and the making of the industrial working class (1908-1941)”   The previous chapters have been heavily focused on the largely overlooked but formative early period of the assemblage of the oil complex and the... Continue Reading →

After the Honeymoon was Over: Urban Strife and the Social Question in post 1926 Abadan

  Credit: Kaveh Ehsani, Leiden University From “The social history of labor in the Iranian oil industry : the built environment and the making of the industrial working class (1908-1941)” Most histories of this period have depicted the reasons behind the increasingly turbulent relationships between APOC and the Iranian Government between 1928-1933 as caused by... Continue Reading →

Illusions of Segregation: Servants and the Politics of Domestic Households

Credit: Kaveh Ehsani, Leiden University From “The social history of labor in the Iranian oil industry : the built environment and the making of the industrial working class (1908-1941)” Illusions of Segregation: Servants and the Politics of Domestic Households As it turned out Greenhouse’s urgency in the autumn of 1925 had not been misplaced. The... Continue Reading →

Militant Particularism in Abadan

  Credit: Kaveh Ehsani, Leiden University From “The social history of labor in the Iranian oil industry : the built environment and the making of the industrial working class (1908-1941)” The Company’s plan to evict residents and merchants, paying compensation to those who had some form of official property title (it is unclear how many... Continue Reading →

Sanitation, Segregation, and the Politics of Property in Abadan

Credit : Kaveh Ehsani, Leiden University From “The social history of labor in the Iranian oil industry : the built environment and the making of the industrial working class (1908-1941)”     In February 1926 APOC medical director Dr. M. Young provided an assessment of the sanitary challenges facing the urban situation in Abadan: “Even... Continue Reading →

Abadan; Building a Sanitary City

  Credit : Kaveh Ehsani, Leiden University From “The social history of labor in the Iranian oil industry : the built environment and the making of the industrial working class (1908-1941)” Reza Khan concluded his important military campaign against Skeikh Khaz’al in 1924 with a formal visit to Abadan and the Fields. During the visit... Continue Reading →

The Making of Skilled and Permanent Iranian Workers: Education, Discipline, and ‘Iranianization’

  AUTHOR: KAVEH EHSANI, LEIDEN UNIVERSITY   FROM “THE SOCIAL HISTORY OF LABOR IN THE IRANIAN OIL INDUSTRY : THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND THE MAKING OF THE INDUSTRIAL WORKING CLASS (1908-1941)” In the interwar years mass education of Iranian workers and their children became a pressing concern for APOC, and it entered its repertoire of reluctant... Continue Reading →

Mending a Blemished Image: Company Propaganda, Social Amenities, and Improving Material Conditions

AUTHOR: KAVEH EHSANI, LEIDEN UNIVERSITY   FROM “THE SOCIAL HISTORY OF LABOR IN THE IRANIAN OIL INDUSTRY : THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND THE MAKING OF THE INDUSTRIAL WORKING CLASS (1908-1941)”    APOC suffered from a poor image in the early years of its operations, and this caused problems with recruiting and retaining employees, not to mention... Continue Reading →

Labor Troubles in an Expanding Boomtown

 Author: Kaveh Ehsani, Leiden University   From “The social history of labor in the Iranian oil industry : the built environment and the making of the industrial working class (1908-1941)”    Labor recruitment was a major challenge facing APOC, especially in the first two decades of its operation in Iran. The Company had to cast a... Continue Reading →

Labor and the Social Question in Interwar Abadan

  Author: Kaveh Ehsani, Leiden University  [ From “The social history of labor in the Iranian oil industry : the built environment and the making of the industrial working class (1908-1941)” ]   As APOC’s operations kept expanding exponentially throughout the war years, the challenge of recruiting and maintaining an adequate labor force took on... Continue Reading →

Creating Enclaves; Setting Boundaries

    Author: Kaveh Ehsani, Leiden University  [ From “The social history of labor in the Iranian oil industry : the built environment and the making of the industrial working class (1908-1941)” ]   The Oil Company, in particular, tried to carve out exclusive geographies by effectively denationalizing territories over which it could exercise its... Continue Reading →

The 1926 Turning Point: Oil Encounter in Abadan

  Author: Kaveh Ehsani, Leiden University  [ From “The social history of labor in the Iranian oil industry : the built environment and the making of the industrial working class (1908-1941)” ]   The short decade after WWI witnessed the consolidation of the oil industry in Iran. The interlude was a revolutionary turning point on... Continue Reading →

The Social Life of Oil in the Wake of WWI and the Transition to Fordism

  Author: Kaveh Ehsani, Leiden University  [ From “The social history of labor in the Iranian oil industry : the built environment and the making of the industrial working class (1908-1941)” ]   By mid-1920’s APOC was re-organizing into a new form of business organization, which four decades later David Lilienthal named the multi-national corporation[199].... Continue Reading →

The Rise to Prominence of Professional Middle Class Experts and their Impact on Corporate Culture and Governmental Social Policies

  Author: Kaveh Ehsani, Leiden University  [ From “The social history of labor in the Iranian oil industry : the built environment and the making of the industrial working class (1908-1941)” ]   When in 1926 APOC undertook the task of re-configuring its operations in Khuzestan, the protracted and extensive discussion among its senior directors... Continue Reading →

Pluralism and Planning: The Impact of Political Franchise and Mass Politics

  Author: Kaveh Ehsani, Leiden University  [ From “The social history of labor in the Iranian oil industry : the built environment and the making of the industrial working class (1908-1941)” ]   In the previous sections I have outlined the impact of public health measures, military conscription, the dramatic expansion of the labor market... Continue Reading →

Setting Oil Policy After the War

  Author: Kaveh Ehsani, Leiden University  [ From “The social history of labor in the Iranian oil industry : the built environment and the making of the industrial working class (1908-1941)” ]   As one of Britain’s major petrochemical and primary industrial materials producers, the attitudes and praxis of APOC directors and experts were constantly... Continue Reading →

Housing and Urban Politics During WWI and After

  Author: Kaveh Ehsani, Leiden University  [ From “The social history of labor in the Iranian oil industry : the built environment and the making of the industrial working class (1908-1941)” ]   In the predominantly working class Britain the increasingly prominent public role of labor and the sacrifices it was asked to make were... Continue Reading →

Oil Versus Coal: Warfare as Midwife of Change of Fuel Source

    Author: Kaveh Ehsani, Leiden University  [ From “The social history of labor in the Iranian oil industry : the built environment and the making of the industrial working class (1908-1941)” ]   In 1911 the United States adopted oil-fired boilers for its new heavy warships. Britain also had begun searching for a sustainable... Continue Reading →

First World War: Total Warfare and the Remaking of Society and Economy

  Author: Kaveh Ehsani, Leiden University  [ From “The social history of labor in the Iranian oil industry : the built environment and the making of the industrial working class (1908-1941)” ]   WWI transformed the world[46] by “mark[ing] a true watershed between the 19th and 20th centuries”, precipitating a social and economic revolution in... Continue Reading →

Sanitation and Segregation in the City

  Author: Kaveh Ehsani, Leiden University  [ From “The social history of labor in the Iranian oil industry : the built environment and the making of the industrial working class (1908-1941)” ]   The politics of sanitation and public health did not create only an inclusive and universal dynamic of citizenship entitlement to a healthy... Continue Reading →

Contagion and the Politics of Prevention

  Author: Kaveh Ehsani, Leiden University  [ From “The social history of labor in the Iranian oil industry : the built environment and the making of the industrial working class (1908-1941)” ] The question of contagious diseases and their root causes became a central preoccupation of urban life in 19th century European and colonial cities... Continue Reading →

Conclusion: From Formal to Real Subsumption to Oil Capitalism

  Author: Kaveh Ehsani, Leiden University  [ From “The social history of labor in the Iranian oil industry : the built environment and the making of the industrial working class (1908-1941)” ]   Abadan’s urban environment had to be carved out of the existing social order, by first fragmenting and then reintegrating it into the... Continue Reading →

Making Abadan an Oil Town: 1911-1921

Author: Kaveh Ehsani, Leiden University  [ From “The social history of labor in the Iranian oil industry : the built environment and the making of the industrial working class (1908-1941)” ] Khuzestan was one of the most impoverished and least urbanized areas of Iran, itself a desperately poor country at the turn of the 20th... Continue Reading →

An Empty Land and a People Without History!?

  Author: Kaveh Ehsani, Leiden University  [ From “The social history of labor in the Iranian oil industry : the built environment and the making of the industrial working class (1908-1941)” ] In chapter one the functional importance to the discourse and practice of modernization of depicting the targeted area for development as desolate and... Continue Reading →

Preparing the Ground in Abadan: The ‘Contract” as Instrument of Dispossession

Author: Kaveh Ehsani, Leiden University  [ From “The social history of labor in the Iranian oil industry : the built environment and the making of the industrial working class (1908-1941)” ] While the land agreements with the Bakhtiyaris were being drawn in Masjed Soleyman the Oil Company was also engaged in making a similar arrangement... Continue Reading →

The Political and Regional Context of Oil in 1920s and Shifting British Policy Toward Iran

Author: Kaveh Ehsani, Leiden University  [ From “The social history of labor in the Iranian oil industry : the built environment and the making of the industrial working class (1908-1941)” ]   British policy toward Iran underwent significant reassessments throughout the 19th and through the first three decades of the 20th centuries, with fundamental repercussions... Continue Reading →

The Post War Landscape of Unanticipated Outcomes (1918-1926)

Author: Kaveh Ehsani, Leiden University  [ From “The social history of labor in the Iranian oil industry : the built environment and the making of the industrial working class (1908-1941)” ] In the wake of WWI, for the first time, Britain appeared as the absolute master of the situation in Iran and the Persian Gulf[1].... Continue Reading →

The Role and Rule of Experts in Establishing the Oil Complex

Author: Kaveh Ehsani, Leiden University  [ From “The social history of labor in the Iranian oil industry : the built environment and the making of the industrial working class (1908-1941)” ] While the initial D’Arcy Concession of 1908 was the product of crafty and remarkably amoral negotiations and deals between British and Iranian statesmen and... Continue Reading →

A Land Without People, and a People Without History? Making the Local Visible Again

Author: Kaveh Ehsani, Leiden University  [ From “The social history of labor in the Iranian oil industry : the built environment and the making of the industrial working class (1908-1941)” ] The privileging of macro scales and meta-narratives of modernization and the nation state in the historiography of oil have tended to silence the lived... Continue Reading →

Abadan and the World: Conceptualizing a Relational Scalar Politics

Author: Kaveh Ehsani, Leiden University  [ From “The social history of labor in the Iranian oil industry : the built environment and the making of the industrial working class (1908-1941)” ] The story of the Abadan bazaar opens a window into the interplay of the localnational-global forces that produced a new configuration of the oil... Continue Reading →

The New Oil Habitus in Post-War Abadan

Author: Kaveh Ehsani, Leiden University  [ From “The social history of labor in the Iranian oil industry : the built environment and the making of the industrial working class (1908-1941)” ]   Small and local as this episode may appear, it encapsulated the emergence of a new habitus around the oil complex in Khuzestan. WWI... Continue Reading →

The New Bazaar of Abadan: Small Case, Big Story?

Author: Kaveh Ehsani, Leiden University  [ From “The social history of labor in the Iranian oil industry : the built environment and the making of the industrial working class (1908-1941)” ]   In 1925-27 APOC decided to build a “properly planned, efficient, and sanitary” market place in a small area sandwiched between the refinery, the... Continue Reading →

The Urban Life of Oil: The Urban Process, the Built Environment, and Everyday Life in Abadan

Author: Kaveh Ehsani, Leiden University  [ From "The social history of labor in the Iranian oil industry : the built environment and the making of the industrial working class (1908-1941)" ] The human experiences surrounding the production of oil in Khuzestan took place in numerous distinct but interconnected spaces: There were the extractive places of... Continue Reading →

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