Inside Ottoman Prisons

with Kent Schull

hosted by Chris Gratien

This episode is part of our series on Islamic law

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While humans have devised no shortage of ways to punish each other throughout history, the rise of the prison and incarceration as a method for dealing with crime is primarily a nineteenth century phenomenon. In this episode, Kent Schull discusses his recent book about the development of the Ottoman prison system and explores the lives of Ottoman prisoners.

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Kent Schull is Associate Professor of History at State University of New York, Binghamton. (see
Chris Gratien is a doctoral candidate at Georgetown University researching the social and environmental history of the Ottoman Empire and the modern Middle East. (see

Episode No. 158
Release date: 7 June 2014
Location: German Orient Institut, Istanbul
Editing and production by Chris Gratien
Bibliography courtesy of Kent Schull

Erzurum: the prison and prisoners
(Source: Keghuni, No. 1-10, 1903,
 2nd year, Venice, St Lazzaro) from

Schull, Kent F. Prisons in the Late Ottoman Empire: Microcosms of Modernity. 2014.

Foucault, Michel. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. New York: Pantheon Books, 1977.

Adams, Bruce F. The Politics of Punishment: Prison Reform in Russia, 1863-1917 (DeKalb, Ill: Northern Illinois University Press, 1996).

Ignatieff, Michael. A Just Measure of Pain: The Penitentiary and the Industrial Revolution, 1750-1850 (New York: Pantheon Books, 1978).

Maksudyan, Nazan, ‘Orphans, Cities, and the State: Vocational Orphanages (ıslahhanes) and Reform in the Late Ottoman Urban Space’, IJMES 43 (2011), pp. 493-511.

Peters, Rudolph. Crime and Punishment in Islamic Law: Theory and Practice from the Sixteenth to the Twenty-first Century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005).

Yıldız, Gültekin. Mapusane: Osmanlı Hapishanelerinin Kuruluș Serüveni, 1839-1908 (İstanbul: Kitabevi, 2012).

Abrahamian, Ervand. Tortured Confessions Prisons and Public Recantations in Modern Iran. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999.