Current Institutional Affiliation
Assistant Professor, Middle Eastern and Historical Studies, Bard College

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2009
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Middle Eastern & Islamic Studies/History, New York University (NYU)
Commerce and Law in Late Ottoman Egypt

My project is a study of economic history focusing on commerce in nineteenth-century Egypt. It relies on archival sources of a legal nature, which include commercial court records, Ottoman commercial codes, and the minutes of cabinet meetings. Historians have hardly consulted these sources before. I will use them in order to establish the ways in which commerce was envisioned by traders and legislators and the meaning of newly introduced commercial laws and regulations for the larger legal plane of late Ottoman Egypt. Studying commercial disputes will lead me to understand how commercial activities, such as money lending, were practiced. On a more general level, the study is particularly significant in two ways. First, it is an attempt to rewrite economic history through studying commerce, which scholarship has constantly abandoned in favor of agriculture and industry. Second, it is an attempt at discovering the hitherto elusive link between the centers of power in the late Ottoman Empire, namely Cairo and Istanbul during the age of reforms 1839 - 1876.