- Crime, Punishment, and Social Control in the Late Ottoman Empire: An Introduction
- Journal of the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association
- Indiana University Press
- Volume 4, Number 1, May 2017
- pp. 3-5
- View Citation
- Additional Information
Journal of the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association, Vol. 4, No. 1, pp. 3–5 Copyright © 2017 Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association. doi:10.2979/jottturstuass.4.1.01 Crime, Punishment, and Social Control in the Late Ottoman Empire: An Introduction Ufuk Adak The idea of publishing this special issue entitled “Crime, Punishment, and Social Control in the Late Ottoman Empire” edited by Kent Schull (Binghamton University, SUNY) and guest editor Ufuk Adak (Istanbul Kemerburgaz University) emerged following a stimulating workshop held at the Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO) in Berlin in the summer of 2015.1 The workshop provided us with an opportunity to present and discuss recent scholarly work on security, crime, and punishment in the late Ottoman Empire, leading us to offer new insights into Ottoman social and legal history. Five of the seven contributing authors in this issue participated in the productive presentations and long discussions of the workshop. All seven respond to and join a growing interest in crime, punishment, and social control in the Ottoman Empire, reflected in a bourgeoning literature and academic conferences ,2 by rethinking the interconnected historical relations between reform, law, penal policy, and security. Although each article in this issue approaches its respective subject different methodologically, all share similarities and connections; each author conducts extensive analysis of archival sources and 1. The ZMO, now the Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient, and the Forum Transregionale Studien, Europe in the Middle East—The Middle East in Europe (EUME) deserve special thanks for their generous support in organizing this workshop. Ufuk Adak, “Security, Crime, Punishment, and Prisons in the Late Ottoman Empire, 9 June 2015, Berlin Zentrum Moderner Orient,” Journal of the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association 2, no. 2 (2015): 447–49. 2. Avi Rubin, “Modernity as a Code: The Ottoman Empire and the Global Movement of Codification,” Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 59, no. 5 (2016): 828–56; Kent F. Schull, Prisons in the Late Ottoman Empire: Microcosms of Modernity (Edinburgh : Edinburgh University Press, 2014); Noémi Lévy-Aksu, Ordre et désordres dans l’Istanbul ottomane (1879–1909) (Paris: Karthala, 2013). The most recent international conference on punishment, particularly prisons, entitled “The World of Prisons: The History of Confinement in a Global Perspective, Late Eighteenth to Early Twentieth Century” organized by the University of Bern was held in Switzerland 7–10 September 2016. 4 Journal of the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association, Vol. 4.1 provides much-needed analytical and empirical frameworks for the legal and security policies of the empire. The promulgation of the Tanzimat hastened the implementation of legal reform in the Ottoman Empire. The codification process included new criminal codes, regulations, and ordinances issued in the nineteenth century. The Ottoman reformers sought ways to standardize crimes—their definitions, scopes, and typologies—and also attempted to provide limits and uniformity for the forms of punishment that would be applied throughout the empire. The nineteenth-century Ottoman legal reforms encompassed new judiciary processes and established new legal and penal institutions such as Nizamiye courts and prisons on the basis of new criminal codes. The implementation of new penal law and the standardization of law enforcement for all of the subjects living in the empire was not an easy task for Ottoman officials throughout the empire. For instance, in regards to the imposition of the death penalty in the late Ottoman Empire, Ebru Aykut illustrates how the new criminal justice system and the dual trial procedure constrained the Ottoman judiciary in their rulings. Examining several cases drawn from archival sources, Aykut analyzes the complex structure and processes of nineteenth-century Ottoman judicial decision-making through a discussion of the Tanzimat’s judicial reforms, legality , and procedural correctness particularly regarding the death penalty. This shift in Ottoman conceptions of crime and punishment resulted in the construction of a new relationship between the state’s political power and its legitimacy. İbrahim Halil Kalkan argues that banning torture in criminal investigations and as a form of punishment in the mid-nineteenth century provides a stark illustration of this new relationship, particularly in regards to the state’s aim of treating all Ottoman subjects equally. Kalkan explores this ban as...