Anscombe, “State, Faith, and Nation in Ottoman and Post-Ottoman Lands”

Next month, Cambridge will publish State, Faith, and Nation in Ottoman and9781107615236 Post-Ottoman Lands, by Frederick F. Anscombe (University of London). The publisher’s description follows.

Current standard narratives of Ottoman, Balkan, and Middle East history overemphasize the role of nationalism in the transformation of the region. Challenging these accounts, this book argues that religious affiliation was in fact the most influential shaper of communal identity in the Ottoman era, that religion molded the relationship between state and society, and that it continues to do so today in lands once occupied by the Ottomans. The book examines the major transformations of the past 250 years to illustrate this argument, traversing the nineteenth century, the early decades of post-Ottoman independence, and the recent past. In this way, the book affords unusual insights not only into the historical patterns of political development but also into the forces shaping contemporary crises, from the dissolution of Yugoslavia to the rise of political Islam.

Ackerman-Lieberman, “The Business of Identity: Jews, Muslims, and Economic Life in Medieval Egypt”

Next month, Stanford will publish The Business of Identity:¬†Jews, Muslims, and 0804785473Economic Life in Medieval Egypt, by¬†Phillip I. Ackerman-Lieberman (Vanderbilt University). The publisher’s description follows.

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.