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Essential Studies on the Modern Middle East

Provides a basic introduction to the modern Middle East

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State & Society Introduction

There is a confident scholarly consensus that one of the major narratives in the history of modern Middle East is the expansion of state control over society.  The consensus fragments somewhat over how much new iterations of the state owed to older state practices, and, over the extent to which changes in the state were intentional adaptions from the West or were European imperialist impositions.  And the story is further complicated by scholars’ attempts to account for the agency of individuals and groups that both resisted and collaborated with state initiatives.

Below you will find resources from four aspects of State & Society:

  • Religion, Law, and State
  • The Expanding State
  • Individual Agency
  • Non-State Institutions and Groups

Religion, Law, and State

Deri̇ngi̇l, Seli̇m. "The Struggle against Shiism in Hamidian Iraq: A Study in Ottoman Counter-Ṗropaganda." Die Welt Des

IslamsNew Series, 30, no. 1/4 (1990): 45-62. doi:10.2307/1571045.


Dumper, Michael. "Forty Years without Slumbering: Waqf Politics and Administration in the Gaza Strip, 1948-1987." British

Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 20, no. 2 (1993): 174-90.


Gunasti, Susan. “The Late Ottoman Ulema’s Constitutionalism.” Islamic Law & Society 23, no. 1/2 (February 2016): 89–119.



Jensen, Kara. "Obstacles to Accessing the State Justice System in Rural Afghanistan." Indiana Journal of Global Legal

Studies 18, no. 2 (2011): 929-50. doi:10.2979/indjglolegstu.18.2.929.


King, James Robin. "Zaydī Revival in a Hostile Republic: Competing Identities, Loyalties and Visions of State in Republican

Yemen." Arabica 59, no. 3/4 (2012): 404-45.


Nielsen, Hans Christian Korsholm. "State and Customary Law in Upper Egypt." Islamic Law and Society 13, no. 1 (2006):



Reiter, Yitzhak. "Family Waqf Entitlements in British Palestine (1917-1948)." Islamic Law and Society 2, no. 2 (1995): 174-93.


Shaham, Ron. "Christian and Jewish "waqf" in Palestine during the Late Ottoman Period." Bulletin of the School of Oriental

and African Studies, University of London 54, no. 3 (1991): 460-72.


Tadros, Mariz. "Vicissitudes in the Entente between the Coptic Orthodox Church and the State in Egypt (1952-

2007)." International Journal of Middle East Studies 41, no. 2 (2009): 269-87.

The Expanding State

Antoun, Richard T. "Fundamentalism, Bureaucratization, and the State's Co-Optation of Religion: A Jordanian Case

Study." International Journal of Middle East Studies 38, no. 3 (2006): 369 93.


EROL, MERIH and Markian Prokopovych. "Surveillance, Urban Governance and Legitimacy in Late Ottoman Istanbul:

Spying on Music and Entertainment during the Hamidian Regime (1876-1909)." Urban History 40, no. 4 (11, 2013): 706-725.


Heinzelmann, Tobias. "The Ruler's Monologue: The Rhetoric of the Ottoman Penal Code of 1858." Die Welt Des Islams 54,

no. 3/4 (2014): 292-321.


Kayalı, Hasan. 1995. “Elections and the Electoral Process in the Ottoman Empire, 1876-1919.” International Journal of

Middle East Studies 27 (iii): 265–86.


Majd, Mohammad Gholi. "Small Landowners and Land Distribution in Iran, 1962-71." International Journal of Middle East

Studies 32, no. 1 (2000): 123-53.


Mir-Hosseini, Ziba. "Iranian Cinema: Art, Society and the State." Middle East Report, no. 219 (2001): 26-29.



Özbek, Nadi̇r. "Defining the Public Sphere during the Late Ottoman Empire: War, Mass Mobilization and the Young Turk

Regime (1908-18)." Middle Eastern Studies 43, no. 5 (2007): 795-809.


Sedgwick, Mark J. R. "Saudi Sufis: Compromise in the Hijaz, 1925-40." Die Welt Des Islams, New Series, 37, no. 3 (1997):


Individual Agency

Aykut, Ebru. "Toxic Murder, Female Poisoners, and the Question of Agency at the Late Ottoman Law Courts, 1840-

1908." Journal of Women's History 28, no. 3 (Fall, 2016): 114-137,187. doi:


Basaran, Oyman. "'You Are Like a Virus': Dangerous Bodies and Military Medical Authority in Turkey." Gender and

Society 28, no. 4 (2014): 562-82.


Cronin, Stephanie. "An Experiment in Revolutionary Nationalism: The Rebellion of Colonel Muhammad Taqi Khan Pasyan in

Mashhad, April-October 1921." Middle Eastern Studies 33, no. 4 (1997): 693-750.


Minkov, Anton. "Ottoman Tapu Title Deeds in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries: Origin, Typology and Diplomatics."

Islamic Law and Society 7, no. 1 (2000): 65-101.

Non-State Institutions and Groups

Abrahamian, Ervand. 2009. “The Crowd in the Iranian Revolution.” Radical History Review, no. 105 (Fall): 13–38.



Baer, Gabriel. "The Waqf as a Prop for the Social System (Sixteenth-Twentieth Centuries)." Islamic Law and Society 4, no. 3

(1997): 264-97.


Ghalwash, Maha A. "Land Acquisition by the Peasants of Mid-Nineteenth Century Egypt: The Ramya System." Studia

Islamica, no. 88 (1998): 121-39. doi:10.2307/1595700.


Minawi, Mostafa. "Beyond Rhetoric: Reassessing Bedouin-Ottoman Relations along the Route of the Hijaz Telegraph Line at

the End of the Nineteenth Century." Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 58, no. 1/2 (2015): 75-104.


Rubin, Avi. "From Legal Representation to Advocacy: Attorneys and Clients in the Ottoman Nizamiye Courts." International

Journal of Middle East Studies 44, no. 1 (02, 2012): 111-127. doi:


Shryock, Andrew J. "Popular Genealogical Nationalism: History Writing and Identity among the Balqa Tribes of Jordan."

Comparative Studies in Society and History 37, no. 2 (1995): 325-57.


Silverstein, Brian. "Disciplines of Presence in Modern Turkey: Discourse, Companionship, and the Mass Mediation of Islamic

Practice." Cultural Anthropology 23, no. 1 (2008): 118-53.

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