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Article Navigation. Close mobile search navigation Article Navigation. Volume Leslie Peirce. University of Maryland.

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Oxford Academic. Google Scholar. Examining one year's proceedings of the court of Aintab, an Anatolian city that had recently been conquered by the Ottoman sultanate, Peirce In this skillful analysis, Leslie Peirce delves into the life of a sixteenth-century Middle Eastern community, bringing to light the ways that women and men used their local law court to solve personal, family, and community problems.

Examining one year's proceedings of the court of Aintab, an Anatolian city that had recently been conquered by the Ottoman sultanate, Peirce argues that local residents responded to new opportunities and new constraints by negotiating flexible legal practices. Their actions and the different compromises they reached in court influenced how society viewed gender and also created a dialogue with the ruling regime over mutual rights and obligations.

Locating its discussion of gender and legal issues in the context of the changing administrative practices and shifting power relations of the period, Morality Tales argues that it was only in local interpretation that legal rules acquired vitality and meaning.

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  3. Morality Tales: Law and Gender in the Ottoman Court of Aintab by Leslie P. Peirce.

Evan Schenck rated it really liked it Nov 04, Mary Arbab rated it liked it Nov 20, Alex Shams rated it really liked it Mar 24, Andy Adler rated it liked it Nov 07, Kathryn rated it it was amazing Jun 25, Elizabeth rated it liked it Jun 01, John rated it liked it Sep 20, Valerie rated it it was ok Mar 24, In recent years, some historians of the Ottoman period have been arguing that a need exists for a fresh look at the historical sources that underpin their understanding of the institutional framework of the empire.

Leslie Peirce's second book makes a formidable case for an acceleration of this process.


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  • While her subject material initially appears to be a substantial diversion from the centers of political power in Istanbul that she tackled in her The Imperial Harem , she nevertheless manages to craft this work on provincial history to address some of the most pressing scholarly questions about the relationship of imperial administration to a more distant local context. Peirce's research for the work initially seems to fit into the classic tradition of Ottoman scholars producing a detailed monograph, based on the records of a court in a given city, about the various provincial urban centers of the Ottoman realm in Anatolia and its Arab provinces.

    Nevertheless, as Peirce immediately informs the reader, she has no intention of following the traditional script of using these court records to produce a study of the regional political economy or local social activities. Rather, she argues that in order to use any court records from the premodern period effectively, the scholar must first ask questions about the work of the court itself, along with its interaction with the local population p.