Society, Law, and Culture in the Middle East: “Modernities” in the Making

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Edited by Ehud Toledano, Ph.D. 1979. 

Society, Law, and Culture in the Middle East: “Modernities” in the Making is an edited volume that seeks to deepen and broaden our understanding of various forms of change in Middle Eastern and North African societies during the Ottoman period. It offers an in-depth analysis of reforms and gradual change in the longue durée, challenging the current discourse on the relationship between society, culture, and law. The focus of the discussion shifts from an external to an internal perspective, as agency transitions from 'the West' to local actors in the region. Highlighting the ongoing interaction between internal processes and external stimuli, and using primary sources in Arabic and Ottoman Turkish, the authors and editors bring out the variety of modernities that shaped south-eastern Mediterranean history.

The first part of the volume interrogates the urban elite household, the main social, political, and economic unit of networking in Ottoman societies. The second part addresses the complex relationship between law and culture, looking at how the legal system, conceptually and practically, undergirded the socio-cultural aspects of life in the Middle East.

Society, Law, and Culture in the Middle East consists of eleven chapters, written by well-established and younger scholars working in the field of Middle East and Islamic Studies. The editors, Dror Ze'evi and Ehud R. Toledano, are both leading historians, who have published extensively on Middle Eastern societies in the Ottoman and post-Ottoman periods."






Introduction: Unpacking Middle East Modernities

Social Transformation and the State in the Middle East

Part I: Unpacking Society

1. Banishment, Confiscation, and the Instability of the Ottoman Elite Household

2. The Religious Endowments of Şeyhülislam Feyzullah Efendi: The Waqf Institution and the Survival of Ottoman Elite Households

3. To be a Voyvoda in Diyarbakır: Socio-Political Change in an 18th-Century Ottoman Province

Part II: Unpacking Law and Culture

4. Where Have All the People Gone? A Critique of Medieval Islamic Historiography

5. According to His Exalted Ḳânûn: Contending Visions of the Muftiship in the Ottoman Province of Damascus (Sixteenth-Eighteenth Centuries)

6. The Slave, the Governor, and the Judge: An Ottoman Socio-Legal Drama from the Late Nineteenth Century

7. The Policeman and State Policy: Police Accountability, Civilian Entitlements, and Ottoman Modernism, 1840–1860s

8. “At Approximately Eleven, Just Before Nightfall”: An Introduction to Ottoman Temporal Culture

9. How to Work on Social History in the Egyptian Archives: Some Thoughts


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De Gruyter Open
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