Palestinian Peasants and Ottoman Officials: Rural Administration around sixteenth-century Jerusalem

Publication Year



In a unique study of rural administration in the Ottoman empire, Amy Singer explores the relationship between Palestinian peasants and Ottoman officials in mid-sixteenth-century Jerusalem. Using court records, the author describes the mechanisms of tax collection and other aspects of local administration. The book emphasizes the interactive nature of Ottoman officialdom, which, while obliged to extract revenues from the peasants and impress them with its imperial authority, was profoundly influenced by local conditions and traditional practices.

  • Original study of countryside and rural administration in Ottoman empire
  • Accesses sources never previously explored which combine imperial and local references
  • A readable and concise volume which should be of interest to scholars in Ottoman history generally

Table of Contents

1. Peasants, Palestine, and the Ottoman Empire
2. Aspects of authority
3. The rules of local administration
4. Real accounts and accounting
5. Between rebellion and oppression
6. Realities and routines


“A meticulous study....[that] will become required reading for all social historians of Ottoman Palestine.” Journal of Palestine Studies

“...Singer's work demonstrates the kinds of understandings that historians can acheive through judicious use of Ottoman-era archival materials. It is a considerable achievement, and Singer asks questions about the Ottomans and their peasant subjects which could be usefully explored in other parts of the Empire.” SHOFAR

“Singer further enriches our knowledge of the forms of peasant resistance.” The Turkish Studies Association Bulletin

“...[Singer] has contributed to our understanding of peasant politics.” Islamic Thought

“Amy Singer's well-researched book uncovers information about the workings of the Ottoman administration on the provincial level and also the day-to-day relationship between the peasants and the Empire's officials....Singer's book is a valuable resource for anyone studying or teaching the history of the early years of the Ottoman Empire. Her extensive research brings to light many aspects of village life during the 16th century which have been neglected in other works....I would recommend the book to anyone doing research on the Ottoman Empire.” Betty Anderson, MESA Bulletin

“Singer is to be complimented for her efforts. She has written a concise and engaging study...Singer's work is so valuable...Singer's book shows that some details of Ottoman peasants' history can be retrieved by a determined scholar.” International Journal of Middle East Studies

Series Title
Cambridge Studies in Islamic Civilization
Cambridge University Press
Cambridge and New York
Cloth: 0521452384; paper: 9780521476799