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SUNY series in the Social and Economic History of the Middle East (discontinued)

Donald Quataert

Published by: State University of New York Press

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SUNY series in the Social and Economic History of the Middle East (discontinued)

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Family History in the Middle East

Household, Property, and Gender

Despite the constant refrain that family is the most important social institution in Middle Eastern societies, only recently has it become the focus for rethinking the modern history of the Middle East. This book introduces exciting new findings by historians, anthropologists, and historical demographers that challenge pervasive assumptions about family made in the past. Using specific case studies based on original archival research and fieldwork, the contributors focus on the interplay between micro and macro processes of change and bridge the gap between materialist and discursive frameworks of analysis. They reveal the flexibility and dynamism of family life and show the complex juxtaposition of different rhythms of time (individual time, family time, historical time). These findings interface directly with and demonstrate the need for a critical reassessment of current debates on gender, modernity, and Islam.

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Nature of the Early Ottoman State, The

Drawing on surviving documents from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, The Nature of the Early Ottoman State provides a revisionist approach to the study of the formative years of the Ottoman Empire. Challenging the predominant view that a desire to spread Islam accounted for Ottoman success during the fourteenth-century advance into Southeastern Europe, Lowry argues that the primary motivation was a desire for booty and slaves. The early Ottomans were a plundering confederacy, open to anyone (Muslim or Christian) who could meaningfully contribute to this goal. It was this lack of a strict religious orthodoxy, and a willingness to preserve local customs and practices, that allowed the Ottomans to gain and maintain support. Later accounts were written to buttress what had become the self-image of the dynasty following its incorporation of the heartland of the Islamic world in the sixteenth century.

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Neighborhood in Ottoman Istanbul, A

Fruit Vendors and Civil Servants in the Kasap Ilyas Mahalle

Combining the vivid and colorful detail of a micro-history with a wider historical perspective, this groundbreaking study looks at the urban and social history of a small neighborhood community (a mahalle) of Ottoman Istanbul, the Kasap Iùlyas. Drawing on exceptionally rich historical documentation starting in the early sixteenth century, Cem Behar focuses on how the Kasap Iùlyas mahalle came to mirror some of the overarching issues of the capital city of the Ottoman Empire. Also considered are other issues central to the historiography of cities, such as rural migration and urban integration of migrants, including avenues for professional integration and the solidarity networks migrants formed, and the role of historical guilds and non-guild labor, the ancestor of the “informal” or “marginal” sector found today in less developed countries.

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Poverty and Charity in Middle Eastern Contexts

Offering insights and analysis in a field that has only recently come into existence, this book explores the ideals and institutions through which Middle Eastern societies—from the rise of Islam in the seventh century C.E. to the present day—have confronted poverty and the poor. By introducing new sources and presenting familiar ones with new questions, the contributors examine ideas about poverty and the poor, ideals and practices of charity, and state and private initiatives of poor relief over this extensive time span. They avoid easy generalizations about Islam and the Middle East as they seek to set the ideals and practices in comparative perspective.

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Striking Cabbies of Cairo and Other Stories, The

Crafts and Guilds in Egypt, 1863-1914

This book charts new directions in Egyptian social history, providing the first systematic account of adaptation and protest among crafts and service workers in Egypt in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Using a wealth of new sources, John T. Chalcraft challenges conventional notions of craft stagnation and decline by recovering the largely unknown histories of crafts workers’ restructuring in the face of world economic integration, and their petitions, demonstrations, and strike-action at a time of state-building and colonial rule. Chalcraft demonstrates the economic importance of petty producers and service providers, and tells the story of widespread collective assertion couched in new discourses of citizenship and nationalism. He also gives a new interpretation of the end of the guilds in Egypt and addresses larger debates about unevenness under capitalism.

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Tale of Two Factions, A

Myth, Memory, and Identity in Ottoman Egypt and Yemen

This revisionist study reevaluates the origins and foundation myths of the Faqaris and Qasimis, two rival factions that divided Egyptian society during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, when Egypt was the largest province in the Ottoman Empire. In answer to the enduring mystery surrounding the factions’ origins, Jane Hathaway places their emergence within the generalized crisis that the Ottoman Empire—like much of the rest of the world—suffered during the early modern period, while uncovering a symbiosis between Ottoman Egypt and Yemen that was critical to their formation. In addition, she scrutinizes the factions’ foundation myths, deconstructing their tropes and symbols to reveal their connections to much older popular narratives. Drawing on parallels from a wide array of cultures, she demonstrates with striking originality how rituals such as storytelling and public processions, as well as identifying colors and emblems, could serve to reinforce factional identity.

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