Cambridge Studies in Islamic Civilization The Politics of Households in Ottoman Egypt: The Rise of the Qazdaglis Synopsis
In a lucidly argued revisionist study of Ottoman Egypt, first published in 1996, Jane Hathaway challenges the traditional view that Egypt's military elite constituted a revival of the institutions of the Mamluk sultanate. The author contends that the framework within which this elite operated was the household, a conglomerate of patron-client ties that took various forms. In this respect, she argues, Egypt's elite represented a provincial variation on an empire-wide, household-based political culture. The study focuses on the Qazdagli household. Originally, a largely Anatolian contingent within Egypt's Janissary regiment, the Qazdaglis dominated Egypt by the late eighteenth century. Using Turkish and Arabic archival sources, Jane Hathaway sheds light on the manner in which the Qazdaglis exploited the Janissary rank hierarchy, while forming strategic alliances through marriage, commercial partnerships and the patronage of palace eunuchs.
Cambridge Studies in Islamic Civilization The Politics of Households in Ottoman Egypt: The Rise of the Qazdaglis Press Reviews
'... this work is an important achievement and sets the study of Egypt in this period on a new path.' Reuven Amitai-Preiss, The Times Literary Supplement A fascinating and carefully argued book....this book significantly enriches and refines our understanding of both Egyptian and Ottoman history and sets a model of meticulous scholarship to be emulated by others. Dina Le Gall, MESA Bulletin ...this is an important book fo the new perspective it brings to the history of Egypt in the Ottoman period, and it will be necessary reading for graduate field exams. Kenneth M. Cuno, Ph.D., Domes Hathaway has certainly made a contribution...in a careful study of a neglected century of Egyptian history. Peter Gran, Int'l Jrnl of Middle East Studies The Politics of Households in Ottoman Egypt...makes a contribution to the history of Ottoman Egypt and in particular to the origins of the household that dominated 18th-century Egypt, the Qazdughli. Mary Ann Fay, Middle East Journal [Hathaway's] book remains s very important contribution to our understanding of the history of political institiutions in the Ottoman Empire, particularly in the provinces. Furthermore, her critical evaluation of the texts, which represent the 'historical memory' of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, is an excellent example of a process through which every historian of the Middle East must go in order better to 'read' our sources. On the basis of these observations, this reviewer would recommend Hathaway's book for specialists in the field. Historian Jane Hathaway has written an excellent book that puts the entire field of Middle Eastern studies in her debt...She bravely takes on received wisdom in the field, questions basic notions laid down by two generations of leading writers, and makes us reconsider our most cherished ideas about Janissaries, Mamluks, beys, agas, and households...Professor Hathaway should be commended on a neatly crafted, well-researched, and highly stimulating book. Journal of the American Oriental Society, Ehud R. Toledano, Tel-Aviv University