The Business of Identity

Author: Phillip Ackerman-Lieberman
Publisher: Stanford University Press
ISBN: 0804785473
Release Date: 2014-01-15
Genre: History

The Cairo Geniza is the largest and richest store of documentary evidence for the medieval Islamic world. This book seeks to revolutionize the way scholars use that treasure trove. Phillip I. Ackerman-Lieberman draws on legal documents from the Geniza to reconceive of life in the medieval Islamic marketplace. In place of the shared practices broadly understood by scholars to have transcended confessional boundaries, he reveals how Jewish merchants in Egypt employed distinctive trading practices. Highly influenced by Jewish law, these commercial practices served to manifest their Jewish identity in the medieval Islamic context. In light of this distinctiveness, Ackerman-Lieberman proposes an alternative model for using the Geniza documents as a tool for understanding daily life in the medieval Islamic world as a whole.

Coming of Age in Medieval Egypt

Author: Eve Krakowski
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9781400887842
Release Date: 2017-12-05
Genre: Religion

Much of what we know about life in the medieval Islamic Middle East comes from texts written to impart religious ideals or to chronicle the movements of great men. How did women participate in the societies these texts describe? What about non-Muslims, whose own religious traditions descended partly from pre-Islamic late antiquity? Coming of Age in Medieval Egypt approaches these questions through Jewish women’s adolescence in Fatimid and Ayyubid Egypt and Syria (c. 969–1250). Using hundreds of everyday papers preserved in the Cairo Geniza, Eve Krakowski follows the lives of girls from different social classes—rich and poor, secluded and physically mobile—as they prepared to marry and become social adults. She argues that the families on whom these girls depended were more varied, fragmented, and fluid than has been thought. Krakowski also suggests a new approach to religious identity in premodern Islamic societies—and to the history of rabbinic Judaism. Through the lens of women’s coming-of-age, she demonstrates that even Jews who faithfully observed rabbinic law did not always understand the world in rabbinic terms. By tracing the fault lines between rabbinic legal practice and its practitioners’ lives, Krakowski explains how rabbinic Judaism adapted to the Islamic Middle Ages. Coming of Age in Medieval Egypt offers a new way to understand how women took part in premodern Middle Eastern societies, and how families and religious law worked in the medieval Islamic world.

Money Power and Influence in Eighteenth Century Lithuania

Author: Adam Teller
Publisher: Stanford University Press
ISBN: 9780804799874
Release Date: 2016-09-21
Genre: History

It has often been claimed that Jews have a penchant for capitalism and capitalist economic activity. With this book, Adam Teller challenges that assumption. Examining how Jews achieved their extraordinary success within the late feudal economy of the eighteenth-century Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, he shows that economic success did not necessarily come through any innate entrepreneurial skills, but through identifying and exploiting economic niches in the pre-modern economy—in particular, the monopoly on the sale of grain alcohol. Jewish economic activity was a key factor in the development of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and it greatly enhanced the incomes, and thereby the social and political status, of the noble magnates, including the powerful Radziwiłł family. In turn, with the magnate's backing, Jews were able to leverage their own economic success into high status in estate society. Over time, relations within Jewish society began to change, putting less value on learning and pedigree and more on wealth and connections with the estate owners. This groundbreaking book exemplifies how the study of Jewish economic history can shed light on a crucial mechanism of Jewish social integration. In the Polish-Lithuanian setting, Jews were simultaneously a despised religious minority and key economic players, with a consequent standing that few could afford to ignore.

A Jew s Best Friend

Author: Phillip Isaac Ackerman-Lieberman
Publisher: Apollo Books
ISBN: 1845194020
Release Date: 2013
Genre: Social Science

A discussion on the specific cultural manifestations of the relationship between dogs and Jews, from ancient times to the present, this work covers a geographical range extending from the Middle East through Europe and to North America, while the contributors—all of whom are senior university scholars specializing in various disciplines—provide a unique cross-cultural, trans-national, diachronic perspective. An important theme is the constant tension between domination/control and partnership that underpins the relationship of humans to animals, as well as the connection between Jewish societies and their broader host cultures. A public increasingly interested in cultural history in general and Jewish history in particular will benefit from the diverse perspectives provided herein.

Partnership and Profit in Medieval Islam

Author: Abraham L. Udovitch
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9781400820474
Release Date: 2011-05-29
Genre: Business & Economics

From the point of view of economic history, the ideal way to study any institution of commercial law would be to compare the information contained in legal codes and treatises with the material relating to its application in economic life as manifested by actual contracts, letters, and business records found in archives and other repositories. In the case of the early centuries of the Islamic period, available sources unfortunately preclude such a procedure. Theoretical legal texts exist in abundance, but any corresponding documentary material is for all practical purposes non-extant. In order to determine if the framework in which the trade and commerce of the early Islamic period was carried on--a trade known to have been active and important--we must of necessity rely on legal treatises for most of our information, which trying wherever possible to call upon whatever meager help other literary sources may provide. In the absence of documentary and similar sources, the possibility of investigating the quantitative aspects of trade is all but eliminated. However, in those areas of trade which have been described as qualitative, such as the variety of goods exchanged, the specialization of the merchant class, and the complexity of business methods, legal and other literary sources provide a great deal of valuable information. It is with the institutions of partnership and commenda in the early Islamic period, two of the qualitative components of trade, that Abraham L. Udovitch makes his primary focus in Partnership and Profit in Medieval Islam.

The D nme

Author: Marc Baer
Publisher: Stanford University Press
ISBN: 9780804768672
Release Date: 2010
Genre: History

This is the first study of the modern history, experience, and ethno-religious identity of the Dönme, the descendants of seventeenth-century Jewish converts to Islam, in Ottoman and Greek Salonica and in Turkish Istanbul.

The Interpretation of Cultures

Author: Clifford Geertz
Publisher: Basic Books
ISBN: 9780465093564
Release Date: 2017-08-15
Genre: Social Science

In The Interpretation of Cultures, the most original anthropologist of his generation moved far beyond the traditional confines of his discipline to develop an important new concept of culture. This groundbreaking book, winner of the 1974 Sorokin Award of the American Sociological Association, helped define for an entire generation of anthropologists what their field is ultimately about.

Citizen Strangers

Author: Shira N. Robinson
Publisher: Stanford University Press
ISBN: 9780804788021
Release Date: 2013-10-09
Genre: History

Following the 1948 war and the creation of the state of Israel, Palestinian Arabs comprised just fifteen percent of the population but held a much larger portion of its territory. Offered immediate suffrage rights and, in time, citizenship status, they nonetheless found their movement, employment, and civil rights restricted by a draconian military government put in place to facilitate the colonization of their lands. Citizen Strangers traces how Jewish leaders struggled to advance their historic settler project while forced by new international human rights norms to share political power with the very people they sought to uproot. For the next two decades Palestinians held a paradoxical status in Israel, as citizens of a formally liberal state and subjects of a colonial regime. Neither the state campaign to reduce the size of the Palestinian population nor the formulation of citizenship as a tool of collective exclusion could resolve the government's fundamental dilemma: how to bind indigenous Arab voters to the state while denying them access to its resources. More confounding was the tension between the opposing aspirations of Palestinian political activists. Was it the end of Jewish privilege they were after, or national independence along with the rest of their compatriots in exile? As Shira Robinson shows, these tensions in the state's foundation—between privilege and equality, separatism and inclusion—continue to haunt Israeli society today.

The Reckoning of Pluralism

Author: Kabir Tambar
Publisher: Stanford University Press
ISBN: 9780804791182
Release Date: 2014-04-16
Genre: Social Science

The Turkish Republic was founded simultaneously on the ideal of universal citizenship and on acts of extraordinary exclusionary violence. Today, nearly a century later, the claims of minority communities and the politics of pluralism continue to ignite explosive debate. The Reckoning of Pluralism centers on the case of Turkey's Alevi community, a sizeable Muslim minority in a Sunni majority state. Alevis have seen their loyalty to the state questioned and experienced sectarian hostility, and yet their community is also championed by state ideologues as bearers of the nation's folkloric heritage. Kabir Tambar offers a critical appraisal of the tensions of democratic pluralism. Rather than portraying pluralism as a governing ideal that loosens restrictions on minorities, he focuses on the forms of social inequality that it perpetuates and on the political vulnerabilities to which minority communities are thereby exposed. Alevis today are often summoned by political officials to publicly display their religious traditions, but pluralist tolerance extends only so far as these performances will validate rather than disturb historical ideologies of national governance and identity. Focused on the inherent ambivalence of this form of political incorporation, Tambar ultimately explores the intimate coupling of modern political belonging and violence, of political inclusion and domination, contained within the practices of pluralism.

Christians and Jews in the Ottoman Arab World

Author: Bruce Masters
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 0521005825
Release Date: 2004-03-25
Genre: History

Masters explores the history of Christians and Jews in the Arab provinces of the Ottoman empire and how their identities as non-Muslims evolved over four hundred years. At the start of this period, in the sixteenth century, social community was circumscribed by religious identity and non-Muslims lived within the hierarchy established by Muslim law. In the nineteenth century, however, in response to Western influences, a radical change took place. Conflict erupted between Muslims and Christians in different parts of the empire in a challenge to that hierarchy. This marked the beginning, as the author illustrates, of the tensions which have to a large extent inspired the nationalist and religious rhetoric in the empire's successor states throughout the twentieth century. In this way, Masters negotiates the present through the past. His book will make a major contribution to an understanding of the political and religious conflicts of the modern Middle East.

Refugees of the Revolution

Author: Diana Allan
Publisher: Stanford University Press
ISBN: 9780804788953
Release Date: 2013-11-13
Genre: Social Science

Some sixty-five years after 750,000 Palestinians fled or were expelled from their homeland, the popular conception of Palestinian refugees still emphasizes their fierce commitment to exercising their "right of return." Exile has come to seem a kind of historical amber, preserving refugees in a way of life that ended abruptly with "the catastrophe" of 1948 and their camps—inhabited now for four generations—as mere zones of waiting. While reducing refugees to symbols of steadfast single-mindedness has been politically expedient to both sides of the Arab-Israeli conflict it comes at a tremendous cost for refugees themselves, overlooking their individual memories and aspirations and obscuring their collective culture in exile. Refugees of the Revolution is an evocative and provocative examination of everyday life in Shatila, a refugee camp in Beirut. Challenging common assumptions about Palestinian identity and nationalist politics, Diana Allan provides an immersive account of camp experience, of communal and economic life as well as inner lives, tracking how residents relate across generations, cope with poverty and marginalization, and plan––pragmatically and speculatively—for the future. She gives unprecedented attention to credit associations, debt relations, electricity bartering, emigration networks, and NGO provisions, arguing that a distinct Palestinian identity is being forged in the crucible of local pressures. What would it mean for the generations born in exile to return to a place they never left? Allan addresses this question by rethinking the relationship between home and homeland. In so doing, she reveals how refugees are themselves pushing back against identities rooted in a purely nationalist discourse. This groundbreaking book offers a richly nuanced account of Palestinian exile, and presents new possibilities for the future of the community.

The Dhimmi

Author: Bat Ye'or
Publisher:
ISBN: 161147079X
Release Date: 1985-04-01
Genre: History

Indispensable to the Western observer for a full understanding of the complexities of the conflicts in the Middle East, this study analyzes and documents the historical, social, and spiritual realities of the dhimmi peoples_ the non-Arab and non-Muslim communities subjected to Muslim domination after the conquest of their territories by Arabs.

Life as Politics

Author: Asef Bayat
Publisher: Stanford University Press
ISBN: 9780804786331
Release Date: 2013-05-01
Genre: Social Science

Prior to 2011, popular imagination perceived the Muslim Middle East as unchanging and unchangeable, frozen in its own traditions and history. In Life as Politics, Asef Bayat argues that such presumptions fail to recognize the routine, yet important, ways in which ordinary people make meaningful change through everyday actions. First published just months before the Arab Spring swept across the region, this timely and prophetic book sheds light on the ongoing acts of protest, practice, and direct daily action. The second edition includes three new chapters on the Arab Spring and Iran's Green Movement and is fully updated to reflect recent events. At heart, the book remains a study of agency in times of constraint. In addition to ongoing protests, millions of people across the Middle East are effecting transformation through the discovery and creation of new social spaces within which to make their claims heard. This eye-opening book makes an important contribution to global debates over the meaning of social movements and the dynamics of social change.

Models and Contacts

Author: Rina Drory
Publisher: BRILL
ISBN: 9004117385
Release Date: 2000
Genre: Literary Criticism

Medieval Jewish literature from the 10th century onwards drew heavily on Arabic literary models. This important new study discusses the impact of Arabic literature on Jewish literature and medieval Jewish culture.