Economics and Justice in the Ottoman Courts

with Boğaç Ergene

hosted by Nir Shafir

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Were Ottoman courts just? Boğaç Ergene discusses this basic question in this podcast by forging a new path beyond the earlier views of the justice system as inherently fickle and capricious—immortalized in Weber’s concept of kadijustiz—and the idealistic views of Ottoman courts as a site of equal and fair treatment for all. Drawing on the results of research for his forthcoming publication with Metin Coşgel entitled The Economics of Ottoman Justice, Ergene argues for employing the quantitative methods of “law and economics” scholars, demonstrating that entrenched power holders in early modern Ottoman society were always able to use the Ottoman court system to produce outcomes favorable to themselves. 


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PARTICIPANT BIOS

Boğaç A. Ergene (PhD in History, 2001, Ohio State University) has undergraduate and graduate degrees in Economics, Economic History, and History and is currently Associate Professor of History at University of Vermont. He is the author of Local Court, Provincial Society and Justice in the Ottoman Empire (Brill, 2003) and editor of Judicial Practice: Institutions and Agents in the Islamic World (Brill, 2009). His most recent monograph, The Economics of Ottoman Justice, coauthored with Metin Coşgel, is forthcoming from the Cambridge University Press. 
Nir Shafir is a historian of the Middle East whose research examines the intersections of knowledge production, religious practice, and material culture in the early modern world (1400-1800). He curates Ottoman History Podcast’s series on history of science in addition to being one of the co-founders of hazine.info, a website that explores the archives and libraries of the Islamic world. He is currently an advanced doctoral candidate in the History Department at UCLA.

CREDITS

Episode No. 239
Release Date: 11 April 2016
Recording Location: Cambridge, MA
Editing and production by Chris Gratien
Special thanks to Kara Güneş for allowing us to use the composition "Istanbul" in the intro and outro music
Sound excerpts: Baglamamin Dugumu - Necmiye Ararat and MuzafferMuzaffer Akgun - Ha Bu DiyarHarmandali - Recep Efendi, Cemal EfendiRizeli Sadik - Erkek Kadin Oyun Havasi
Podcast image by Daphne Christoforou, copyright Boğaç Ergene
Bibliography courtesy of Boğaç Ergene

SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY

Agmon, I. (2006). Family and Court: Legal Culture and Modernity in Late Ottoman Palestine. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press.

Aykan, Y. (2015). Rendre la justice à Amid: Procédures, acteurs et doctrines dans le contexte ottoman du XVIIIème siècle. Leiden: Brill

Bouckaert, B., & De Geest, G. e. (2000). The History and Methodology of Law and Economics. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

Cooter, R. D., & Rubinfeld, D. L. (1989). Economic Analysis of Legal Disputes and Their Resolution. Journal of Economic Literature, 27, 1067-1097.

Coşgel, M. M., & Ergene, B. A. (2014). Dispute Resolution in Ottoman Courts: A Quantitative Analysis of Litigations in Eighteenth Century Kastamonu. Social Science History 38:1-2, 183-202.

Coşgel, M. M., & Ergene, B. A. (2014). Law and Economics Literature’ and Ottoman Legal Studies. Islamic Law and Society, 21:4, 114-44.

Coşgel, M. M., & Ergene, B. A. (2013). The Selection Bias in Historical Records: Settlement and Trial in Eighteenth Century Ottoman Kastamonu. Economic History Review, 67:2, 517-34.

Ergene, B. A. (2003). Local Court, Provincial Society and Justice in the Ottoman Empire: Legal Practice and Dispute Resolution in Çankırı and Kastamonu (1652-1744). Boston and Leiden: Brill.

Ergene, B. A., & Berker, A. (2008). Wealth and Inequality in 18th-century Kastamonu: Estimations for the Muslim Majority. International Journal of Middle East Studies, 40, 23-46.

Gerber, H. (1994). State, Society, and Law in Islam: Ottoman Law in Comparative Perspective. Albany: SUNY Press.

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Klerman, D. (2012). The Selection of 13th-Century Disputes for Litigation. Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, 9:2, 320-346.

Kuran, T., & Lustig, S. (2012). Judicial Biases in Ottoman Istanbul: Islamic Justice and Its Compatibility with Modern Economic Life. Journal of Law and Economics, 55, 631-666.

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

Peirce, L. (2003). Morality Tales: Law and Gender in the Ottoman Court of Aintab. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Priest, G. L., & Klein, B. (1984). The Selection of Disputes for Litigation. The Journal of Legal Studies, 13:1, 1-55.

Rosen, L. (2000). The Justice of Islam: Comparative Perspectives on Islamic Law and Society. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Tamdoğan, I. (2008). Sulh and the 18th Century Ottoman Courts of Uskudar and Adana. Islamic Law and Society, 15, 55-83.

Zarinebaf, F. (2010). Crime and Punishment in Istanbul: 1700-1800. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Ze’evi, D. (1998). The Use of Ottoman Sharia Court Records as a Source for Middle Eastern Social History: A Reappraisal. Islamic Law and Society, 5, 35-56.

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