Family History in the Middle East

Household, Property, and Gender

Edited by Beshara Doumani

Subjects: Legal Studies
Series: SUNY series in the Social and Economic History of the Middle East
Paperback : 9780791456804, 354 pages, February 2003
Hardcover : 9780791456798, 354 pages, February 2003

Alternative formats available from:

Table of contents

Note on Transliteration and Pronunciation

List of Tables and Figures

1. Introduction
Beshara Doumani

I. Family and Household

2. Family and Household in Mid-Nineteenth-Century Cairo
Philippe Fargues

3. Size and Structure of Damascus Households in the Late Ottoman Period as Compared with Istanbul Households
Tomoki Okawara

4. From Warrior-Grandees to Domesticated Bourgeoisie: The Transformation of the Elite Egyptian Household into a Western-style Nuclear Family
Mary Ann Fay

II. Family, Gender, and Property

5. Women's Gold: Shifting Styles of Embodying Family Relations
Annelies Moors

6. "Al-Mahr Zaituna": Property and Family in the Hills Facing Palestine, 1880-1940
Martha Mundy and Richard Saumarez Smith

7. Tribal Enterprises and Marriage Issues in Twentieth-Century Iran
Erika Friedl

III. Family and the Praxis of Islamic Law

8. Adjudicating Family: The Islamic Court and Disputes between Kin in Greater Syria, 1700-1860
Beshara Doumani

9. Text, Court, and Family in Late-Nineteenth-Century Palestine
Iris Agmon

10. Property, Language, and Law: Conventions of Social Discourse in Seventeenth-Century Tarablus al-Sham
Heather Ferguson

IV. Family as a Discourse

11. Ambiguous Modernization: The Transition to Monogamy in the Khedival House of Egypt
Kenneth M. Cuno

12. "Queen of the House?" Making Immigrant Lebanese Families in the Mahjar
Akram F. Khater




SUNY series in the Social and Economic History of the Middle East

Challenges conventional assumptions about the family and the modern Middle East.


Despite the constant refrain that family is the most important social institution in Middle Eastern societies, only recently has it become the focus for rethinking the modern history of the Middle East. This book introduces exciting new findings by historians, anthropologists, and historical demographers that challenge pervasive assumptions about family made in the past. Using specific case studies based on original archival research and fieldwork, the contributors focus on the interplay between micro and macro processes of change and bridge the gap between materialist and discursive frameworks of analysis. They reveal the flexibility and dynamism of family life and show the complex juxtaposition of different rhythms of time (individual time, family time, historical time). These findings interface directly with and demonstrate the need for a critical reassessment of current debates on gender, modernity, and Islam.

Beshara Doumani is Associate Professor of History at the University of California at Berkeley and the author of Rediscovering Palestine: Merchants and Peasants in Jabal Nablus, 1700–1900.