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Skidmore College
Greenberg Middle East Scholar-In-Residence

2012 Scholar-in-Residence Lecture:
  Justice of the Kadi: New Perspectives on Ottoman Law

Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Davis Auditorium
8 p.m.
Free admission and open to the public


Iris Agmon, Department of Middle East Studies, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Sociologist Max Weber (1864–1920) introduced the term "kadi-justiz" (Kadi's justice) to characterize Islamic and similar non-European premodern legal systems as less rational, arbitrary and unsystematic. The term implies that the judge in Islamic court reaches his decisions intuitively and without systematic reasoning. For a long time, historiography on the Ottoman Empire unwittingly sustained this terminology. In the last couple of decades, however, new approaches to the study of Ottoman law and legal history, particularly the socio-legal approach, have changed our understanding of the legal system in general and the work of legal practitioners in the Ottoman Empire. The lecture will discuss the transformation of the Ottoman judicial system focusing on the key figure of the judge and pointing to new perspectives in the historiography on the Ottoman Empire.

The Greenberg Middle East Scholar-in-Residence Series is made possible by a gift from Skidmore alumna Jane Greenberg. The series enables the college to host an Israeli scholar who through teaching, lecturing and participating in campus life, educates the community on a range of topics concerning political life in the Middle East.