Individuals and Legal Institutions Around the Medieval Mediterranean

March 7-8, 2016 at Duke University

While there is a vast literature on medieval Jewish and Islamic law, the histories of medieval Jewish and Muslim legal institutions received substantially less attention. A relative dearth of documentary sources and a privileged position given to prescriptive texts have led to a top-down approach that views courts predominantly from the perspective of the central political power and/or the legal tradition. This situation contrasts with the study of courts and the legal arena in Christian Europe where there has been a long tradition of studying legal institutions “from below,” whether through the lens of dispute settlement, microhistory, or legal anthropology. A new approach has been recently developed by Daniel Lord Smail in his book, The Consumption of Justice. Viewing litigants as consumers who have options allows us to explore the choices they make both in terms of the venues they utilize and the strategies they pursue. This, in turn, necessitates a re-thinking of the institutions themselves as we learn to appreciate the ways they derived their power and legitimacy by structuring and accommodating consumers’ choices.

This conference will bring together scholars of medieval Christian, Muslim, Jewish and secular legal institutions to think comparatively about the study of individuals and legal institutions “from below.” In order to supply a comparative perspective, we will be joined by scholars who have tackled such questions in adjacent fields, from Late Antiquity to the Ottoman Empire. By bridging the gap between the study of legal culture and practice in medieval Europe and the Islamic world, we hope to test the limits of the ‘consumer’ model as a way of understanding legal institutions and litigants’ choices.

Individuals and Legal Institutions Around the Medieval Mediterranean

Medieval Mediterranean Conference Themes

  1. Individuals, networks and legal institutions –Networks, either based on hierarchical or horizontal relationships, have received much attention in recent years from both historians of Europe and the Middle East. How do these networks play out within the legal arena? How do litigants employ the connections they might have with judges, jurisconsults or the staff of the court to their benefits, and how institutions in turn use these same networks to guarantee litigants’ participation and compliance? To what degree such networks represent a challenge to the formal buildup of legal institutions?   
  2. The individuals within the legal institutions - Who are the people who staffed the institutions and what can prosopography tell us about institutions? To what degree are the personal interests of these individuals aligned with the interests of the institutions and what happens when they do not align?
  3. Beyond legal pluralism - In recent years we have witnessed a flurry of studies arguing the centrality of legal pluralism to our understanding of the medieval legal marketplace. On the one hand, it seems like the dividends of legal pluralism have not yet been fully exploited by historians and, on the other hand, there is a growing realization that pluralism is only one aspect of the legal marketplace. Studies challenging, developing or complementing the concept of legal pluralism in the medieval Mediterranean are will be most welcome.
  4. Legal documents as mediators between individuals and institutions – How institutions produce legal documents and what do individuals do with these documents once produced? What types of power do documents convey and from where does this power emanates?
  5. Judgments, mediation and arbitration: scholars have noted the paucity of decisive judgments in medieval court records in the Islamic world. How is such paucity to be understood and how does it compare with legal records across the Mediterranean?    

Conference Program

Monday, March 7, 2016
Perkins Library, Room 217

9:00 – Light reception (coffee and refreshments)

9:45 – Greetings by Laura Lieber. 

9:50 – Welcome by Oded Zinger.

First Session (20 minutes lectures, 5 minute response, 15 minutes discussion)

Chair: Ellen McLarney.

10:00 – Daniel Lord Smail – “Debt Collection and the Making of Medieval Justice”

Respondent: Timur Kuran.

10:40 – Verena Kasper Marienberg - "Jewish Individuals before the Early Modern Viennese Imperial Court – Choices, Strategies, Options"

Respondent: Adam Kosto

11:20 – Mathieu Tillier. “Qadis and their social networks: defining the judge’s neutrality in Abbasid Iraq”

Respondent: Boğaç Ergene

12:00 – Lunch and break. 

Second Session

Chair: Abdullah Antepli.

1:30 – Marina Rustow – “Rights, Institutions and Documentary Culture in the Medieval Middle East.”

Respondent: Bruce Hall

2:10 – Flora Cassen – “Philip II of Spain and his Italian Jewish Spy”

Respondent: Caroline Humfress

2:50 – Sara McDougall – “Bastards and thrones in medieval Europe: Law and practice”

Respondent: Jehangir Malegam

3:30 - 4:00 - Break.

Third Session

Chair: Mona Hassan.

4:00 – Timur Kuran – “The Financial Power of the Powerless: Socio-Economic Status and Interest Rates under Partial Rule of Law”

Respondent: Jessica Goldberg

4:40 – Tamer El-Leithy - Shibboleths under Hats: Material Culture, Fiscal Records, and   Medieval Arabic Documentary Regimes

Respondent: Brinkley Messick

5:20 – Andrew Berns - 'Women who love to go out:' Jewish women as peddlers in Renaissance Italy

Respondent: Rena Lauer.

6:00 – Finished!

7:00 – Dinner.


Tuesday, March 8, 2016
Thomas Room, Lilly Library
Workshop: Session I (30 minutes papers, 5-10 minute response, 20-25 minutes discussion)

Chair: Joseph Shatzmiller

9:00 – Rena Lauer. "Converts and their Jewish Families in the Courtrooms of Venetian Crete"

Respondent: Andrew Berns

10:00 – Rachel Furst. “Managing Marital Conflict: Husbands and Wives in the Jewish Courts of Thirteenth Century Ashkenaz”.

Respondent: Mark R. Cohen

 11:00-11:30 Break.

Workshop: Session II

Chair: Laura Lieber.

11:30- Pinchas Roth - 'My precious books and instruments': The divorce of David Bonjorn and Esther Caravita, Catalonia 1337

Respondent: Thomas Robisheaux.

12:30 - Lunch 

14:00 – Oded Zinger, “Toward a Social History of Responsa”

Respondent: Eve Krakowski.

15:00 – Conclusions

15:30 – Done!

Conference Participants

Abdullah Antepli, Duke University

Imam Antepli completed his basic training and education in his native Turkey. From 1996-2003 he worked on a variety of faith-based humanitarian and relief projects in Myanmar (Burma) and Malaysia with the Association of Social and Economic Solidarity with Pacific Countries. He is the founder and executive board member of the Association of College Muslim Chaplains (ACMC) and a board member of the Association for College and University Religious Affairs (ACURA). From 2003 to 2005 he served as the first Muslim chaplain at Wesleyan University. He then moved to Hartford Seminary in Connecticut, where he was the associate director of the Islamic Chaplaincy Program & Interfaith Relations, as well as an adjunct faculty member.

He previously served as Duke University first Muslim chaplain from July 2008 to 2014. In his current work at Duke, Antepli engages students, faculty, and staff across and beyond campus through seminars, panels, and other avenues to provide a Muslim voice and perspective to the discussions of faith, spirituality, social justice, and more. Imam Antepli also serves as a faculty member in the Duke Divinity School teaches a variety of courses on Islam and Muslim cultures.

Andrew Berns, University of South Carolina

Andrew Berns is assistant professor of history at the University of South Carolina.  His research investigates the intellectual and cultural history of Jews in the medieval and early modern Mediterranean, especially Italy.  Last year he held the Rose and Henry Zifkin Teaching Fellowship at the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.  He has been the Melville J. Kahn Fellow at Villa I Tatti: the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies, as well as Viterbi Visiting Professor in Mediterranean Jewish Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. His book, The Bible and Natural Philosophy in Renaissance Italy: Jewish and Christian Physicians in Search of Truth, was published last year by Cambridge University Press.

Flora Cassen, UNC - Chapel Hill

Flora Cassen is an assistant professor of history and a JMA and Sonja van der Horst Fellow in Jewish Studies at the University of North Carolina. Her 2008 NYU dissertation, a study of discriminatory marks that the Jews were compelled to wear in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Italy, probes the roots and consequences of anti-Judaism and is being prepared for publication as Identity or Control: The Jewish Badge in Renaissance Italy. A second project studies Italian Jews who were spies for the king of Spain, records of which she discovered in Italian archives and further documented in Spanish archives. Philip II professed a deep suspicion of the Jews and ordered them to wear a humiliating yellow hat, yet welcomed their intelligence information; some Jews were eager to provide it. Intriguingly, Italian Jews spied on the Turks, thereby playing a role in the Spanish-Ottoman wars, and providing information on the Ottoman empire, which was commonly seen as the Jews’ ultimate protector and refuge from Catholic intolerance.

Mark R. Cohen, Princeton University

Mark R. Cohen is the Khedouri A. Zilkha Professor of Jewish Civilization in the Near East, Emeritus, and Professor of Near Eastern Studies, Emeritus, at Princeton University. Educated at Brandeis University (B.A.), Columbia University (M.A.), and the Jewish Theological Seminary (M.H.L., Rabbi, Ph.D.), he is a well-known historian of the Jews in Arab lands in the Middle Ages. His publications include over 100 articles and reviews and several books: Jewish Self-Government in Medieval Egypt, 1980; The Autobiography of a Seventeenth-Century Venetian Rabbi: Leon Modena’s “Life of Judah,” 1988; Under Crescent and Cross: The Jews in the Middle Ages, 1994, new edition 2008; Poverty and Charity in the Jewish Community of Medieval Egypt; and The Voice of the Poor in the Middle Ages: An Anthology of Documents from the Cairo Geniza published by Princeton University Press in 2005.

Cohen is a member of the American Academy for Jewish Research. In 2010 he was the first winner of the Goldziher Prize for scholarship promoting better understanding between Jews and Muslims, awarded by Merrimack College’s Center for the Study of Jewish-Christian-Muslim Relations.

Tamer el-Leithy, John Hopkins

Tamer el-Leithy was born and raised in Cairo, Egypt. After studying economics (American Univ. in Cairo), and a brief stint as an economist in the oil industry, he read a historical novel and turned to studying medieval history at Cambridge University (MPhil.) and Princeton University (PhD). A former Junior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows (2003-06) and professor at NYU (2007-14), he currently teaches medieval history at Johns Hopkins University. 

His forthcoming book, The Last New Arab Muslims: Conversion and Religious Difference in Medieval Egypt examines the late-medieval mass conversions from Coptic Christianity to Islam—most likely the moment when Egypt became a ‘majority’ Muslim region. The conversion wave involved many converts who changed their personal religious identity—but more importantly, it also had deep and long-term effects on the religious traditions of Coptic Christianity and Islam.

He is currently working on two projects: (1) Arabization and the Deep Grammar of Religious Transformation, and The Biography of an Alley in Late-Medieval Cairo: Coptic Family, Urban Property, and Legal Acculturation.

Boğaç Ergene, University of Vermont

Boğaç A. Ergene is currently Associate Professor of History at University of Vermont. In the Spring Semester of 2014, Ergene was the Aga Khan Distinguished Professor in Islamic Humanities at Brown University. In the Fall Semester of 2015, he was a Visiting Fellow at the Islamic Legal Studies Program at Harvard Law School. He is one of the co-editors of the Brill book-series, “the Ottoman Empire and Its Heritage.” At the University of Vermont, Ergene served as the director of Middle East Studies Program and the Director of Graduate Studies in the History Department.

Ergene has undergraduate and graduate degrees in Economics (BSc, 1992 and MSc,1995; Middle East Technical University)  and Economic History (MSc, 1993; London School of Economics and Political Science). He received his PhD degree in History from the Ohio State University in 2001. Ergene is the author of Local Court, Provincial Society and Justice in the Ottoman Empire: Legal Practice and Dispute Resolution in Çankırı and Kastamonu (1652–1744) (Boston and Leiden: Brill, 2003) and editor of Judicial Practice: Institutions and Agents in the Islamic World (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2009). In addition, he has published articles in major history, law, and economic history journals, and has recently completed a long-term research project on “Law and Economics” in the Ottoman Empire (with Metin Coşgel). The book-length manuscript based on this research (titled, The Economics of Ottoman Justice; coauthored with Metin Cosgel) is forthcoming.

Rachel Furst, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Rachel Furst is a post-doctoral fellow at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Freie Universitaet Berlin. She received her Ph.D. and M.A. from Hebrew University and her B.A. from Barnard College of Columbia University, New York. She is currently working on a monograph that examines women's litigation and legal activities in the Jewish courts of medieval Ashkenaz. Other research projects concern medieval Jewish archival practices and the construction of credibility in medieval legal discourse.

Jessica Goldberg, UCLA

Jessica Goldberg studies the medieval history of the Mediterranean basin, Christian Europe, and the Islamic world, specializing in economic and legal institutions and culture. Her research interests include the history of medieval trade, business, and industry, definitions of regions and regional identity in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, epistolographic culture, and the idea and practice of law in medieval societies. She also maintains a strong interest in digital humanities, which has been methodologically important to much of her research. Her first book, Trade and Institutions in the Medieval Mediterranean: The Geniza Merchants and their Business World (Cambridge University Press, Studies in Economic History, 2012) explores the nature and geography of the medieval Islamic economy, the ways a group of merchants engaged with local and long-distance infrastructures and institutions of trade, and how notions of identity—religious, political, and geographic—affected the practices of business. Professor Goldberg has also written articles on the nature and use of merchant letters, on the economic activities of Jews under Islam, on contracts and contract enforcement regimes among medieval merchants, and on the legal persona of children in medieval canon law.

Bruce Hall, Duke University

Bruce S. Hall is an associate professor in the Department of History at Duke University. He previously held a position at the University at Buffalo (SUNY). His book, entitled A History of Race in Muslim West Africa, 1600-1960 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011), was the co-winner of the 2012 Martin Klein Prize from the American Historical Association for best book in English on African History. He has also published articles in the Journal of African History, Journal of North African Studies, and International Journal of African Historical Studies. He earned his Ph.D. in History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2005.

Mona Hassan, Duke University

Mona Hassan is Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies & History in the departments of Religious Studies and History and the program of International Comparative Studies at Duke University.  She obtained her Ph.D. from Princeton University and specializes in global Islamic history.  Hassan’s research and publications analyze the intersections of religion, culture, gender, and politics.  Her first book Longing for the Lost Caliphate: A Transregional History (Princeton University Press, forthcoming 2016) examines Muslim engagement and entanglement with the notion of an Islamic caliphate following its loss in the thirteenth and twentieth centuries.  Her second book project on female Muslim jurists explores the shifting contours of women’s Islamic legal scholarship from the emergence of the Muslim community in the seventh century to the secular interventions of modern nation-states in the present.

Caroline Humfress, St. Andrews University

Caroline Humfress (BA, MA, PhD Cantab) is Professor of Mediaeval History at the University of St Andrews and Deputy Director of the St Andrews’ Institute of Legal and Constitutional Research. She is the author of Orthodoxy and the Courts in Late Antiquity (Oxford University Press, 2007), as well as various other co-authored and edited volumes, articles and essays, on Late Antique legal history and  religion. She is currently working on a number of comparative projects relating to Ancient and Medieval Law. Her next book (forthcoming with Oxford University Press) is on multilegalism in Late Antiquity.

Verena Kasper-Marienberg, Universitz of Graz

Dr. Kasper-Marienberg is an Assistant Professor of Early Modern History at the University of Graz, Austria. She earned her PhD there in 2009 in history and historical museology. Her first book focused on the defense of Jewish autonomy at the Viennese imperial court during the reign of Joseph II. It won the the highest prize in Jewish Studies in Germany in 2012. Currently she is working on a new project about the relation between nobility and rural Jewries in 17th century Bohemia.  

Adam Kosto, Columbia University

Adam Kosto is Professor of History at Columbia University, where he specializes in the institutional and legal history of medieval Europe, with a focus on Catalonia and the Mediterranean. He received his B.A. from Yale (1989), an M.Phil. from Cambridge (1990), and his Ph.D. from Harvard (1996). He is the author of Making Agreements in Medieval Catalonia: Power, Order, and the Written Word, 1000-1200 (Cambridge UP, 2001) and  Hostages in the Middle Ages (Oxford UP, 2012), and co-editor of The Experience of Power in Medieval Europe , 950-1350 (Ashgate, 2005), Charters, Cartularies, and Archives: The Preservation and Transmission of Documents in the Medieval West (PIMS, 2002), and Documentary Practices and the Laity in the Early Middle Ages (Cambridge UP, 2012). He is a member of the Commission Internationale de Diplomatique and the ChartEx digital humanities project, and currently serves as program director for Columbia's History in Action initiative.

Eve Krakowski, Princeton University

Eve Krakowski is an assistant professor of Near Eastern Studies and Judaic Studies at Princeton University. She studies the social history of the medieval Middle East, mainly through documents preserved in the Cairo Geniza. Her work to date has focused on gender, kinship, and rabbinic legal practice among Jews in Fatimid and Ayyubid Egypt. She is currently completing her first book,Coming of Age in Medieval Egypt: Women’s Adolescence, Jewish Law, and Ordinary Culture.

Timur Kuran, Duke University

Timur Kuran is Professor of Economics and Political Science, and Gorter Family Professor of Islamic Studies at Duke University. His research focuses on (1) social change, including the evolution of preferences and institutions, and (2) the economic history and thought of the Middle East.  His current projects include a study of the role that the Middle East’s traditional institutions played in its poor political performance, as measured by democratization and human liberties. Among his publications are Private Truths, Public Lies: The Social Consequences of Preference Falsification (Harvard University Press); Islam and Mammon: The Economic Predicaments of Islamism (Princeton University Press); The Long Divergence: How Islamic Law Held Back the Middle East (Princeton University Press); and a tri-lingual edited work that consists of ten volumes, Socio-Economic Life in Seventeenth-century Istanbul: Glimpses from Court Records (İş Bank Publications).

Rena Lauer, Oregon State University

Rena Lauer (PhD Harvard, 2014) is an Assistant Professor of Medieval and Early Modern History at Oregon State University, where she is also affiliated faculty in Religious Studies. Lauer studies minority life and cross-cultural contact in the late medieval Mediterranean, with a particular focus on Jews, Jewish communities, and the social history of overlapping legal systems. Her current book project investigates the ways in which the Jews of late medieval Venetian Crete utilized the colonial courtroom, particularly as a site for intra-Jewish disputes, from unhappy marriages to leadership battles. Related pieces have been or will soon be published in, among other venues, Mediterranean Historical Review and Critical Analysis of Law (forthcoming). Lauer can be reached

Laura Lieber, Duke University

Laura Lieber is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Duke University and director of the Duke Center for Jewish Studies.  She received her BA in English from the University of Arkansas, her rabbinical ordination from HUC-JIR in Cincinnati, and her PhD from the University of Chicago.  Her most recent book, A Vocabulary of Desire:  The Song of Songs in the Ancient Synagogue, was published in 2014.  She has received a fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies, and she will be in residence as a fellow at the National Humanities Center for the academic year 2015-16, where she is writing a monograph on theater and religious ritual in Late Antiquity.

Jehangir Malegam, Duke University

Jehangir Malegam (Ph.D. 2006, Stanford University) is an assistant professor of History at Duke university. His book, The Sleep of Behemoth: Disputing Peace and Violence in Medieval Europe, 1000-1200 (Cornell University Press, 2013), explores the history of notions of peace, violence, and community in a period of profound change in the political, ecclesiastical, social, and cultural history of Europe. His new research project concerns the history of personhood, con-sociation and alienation during a period of nascent state formation and evangelical outreach in England, France and the Empire (1000-1250).

Sara McDougall, City University of New York

Sara McDougall is Associate Professor of History at John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York and is a member of the doctoral faculty at the CUNY Graduate Center.  Her research focuses primarily on marriage and law in medieval Europe. She is the author of Bigamy and Christian Identity in Late Medieval Champagne(Penn, 2012) and has also published on adultery, marriage, illicit sex, and the role of gender in canon law. She was a Mellon fellow in Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton in 2014-2015, a Golieb fellow in legal history in 2009-2010 and obtained her doctorate in medieval history from Yale University in 2009.

Ellen McLarney, Duke University

Ellen McLarney is an assistant professor of Arabic language, literature, and culture in the Asian and Middle Eastern Studies Department at Duke University. Her book Soft Force: Women in Egypt’s Islamic Awakening was published in 2015 by Princeton’s Studies in Muslim Politics series. McLarney received a number of awards, including Stanford's Andrew W. Mellon Humanities Fellowship, the Hurford Family Fellowship from the National Humanities Center, and a Fulbright. She has been actively involved in the Mellon Foundation’s Humanities Writ Large initiative at Duke University through interrelated projects on “Islamic Humanities,” “Islamic Media,” and “The Art of Revolution: The Arab Spring.” She also has secondary appointments in Women’s Studies and International Comparative Studies, has directed the Arab language program at Duke, and co-directed the Duke in the Arab World study abroad program in Morocco and Egypt. Her new project looks at Global South solidarities between Latin America and the Middle East, with a focus on Islamic media.

Brinkley Messick, Columbia University

Brinkley Messick is Professor of Anthropology and of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies at Columbia University. He was the Chair of the Anthropology Department (20014-11), a founding Co-Director of the Center for Palestine Studies (2010-2015), and currently is the Director of the Middle East Institute. In 2009, he received the Outstanding Senior Scholar Award from the Middle East Section of the American Anthropological Association. He has conducted research in Yemen and Morocco, and he is the author of The Calligraphic State (1993), which was awarded the Albert Hourani Prize of the Middle Eastern Studies Association and is being translated into Turkish, and a co-editor of Islamic Legal Interpretation (1996). His new book, Sharīʿa Scripts: The Anthropologist as Reader, is forthcoming from Columbia University Press.

Thomas Robisheaux, Duke University

Thomas Robisheaux, the Fred W. Schaffer Professor of History, is an historian best known for patiently tracking down archival evidence about peasant life in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.   His most recent work is a microhistory of one of the last witch panics in the Germanies: The Last Witch of Langenburg.   His early work explored the long-term structural forces at work in shaping agriculture, population movements, land tenure, lordship and state development in a region of Southwest Germany (Rural Society and the Search for Order in Early Modern Germany).   He has also translated and introduced the work of Arthur Imhof to English-speaking audiences (Lost Worlds: How Our European Ancestors Coped with Everyday Life and Why Life is so Hard Today.  A lifetime Alexander von Humboldt Fellow of the Federal Republic of Germany, he has led the creation of a new international interdisciplinary scholarly conference group, the Frühe Neuzeit Interdisziplinär (Early Modern Interdisciplinary Studies).  Currently he is working on several projects related to microhistory, including an edited volume for the Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies; essays on the methodological practices developed by microhistorians called The Craft of Microhistory; and a project on dreams, the dream experience and dream interpretation in the seventeenth-century Europe.

Pinchas Roth, Bar Ilan University

Pinchas Roth is a senior lecturer in the Talmud Department at Bar-Ilan University, Israel. He received his PhD from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 2012. His main research interest is the history of Jewish law in medieval western Europe. He is currently working with Prof. Rami Reiner on a critical edition of medieval responsa by Isaac of Dampierre (d. 1189), and is also writing a book about Isaac ben Mordechai Kimhi, an important rabbinic decisor in 14th century Provence.

Marina Rustow, Princeton University

Marina Rustow is the Khedouri A. Zilkha Professor of Jewish Civilization in the Near East and Professor of History at Princeton University. She directs the Princeton Geniza Lab, which brings together students and specialists to identify, transcribe and translate unpublished Geniza documents, and is currently PI and co-PI (with Eve Krakowski) of the project Documents and Institutions in the Medieval Middle East. She is the author of Heresy and the Politics of Community: The Jews of the Fatimid Caliphate (Cornell, 2008) and is currently working on a pair of books on what Geniza documents can tell us about the relationship between state and society under the Fatimids and Ayyubids. In September 2015, she was named a MacArthur Fellow.

Joseph Shatzmiller, Duke University

Daniel Lord Smail, Harvard University.

Daniel Lord Smail is the Frank B. Baird, Jr. Professor of History at Harvard University, where he works on the history and anthropology of Mediterranean societies between 1100 and 1600 and on deep human history. In medieval European history, his work has explored the social and cultural history of the cities of Mediterranean Europe, with a focus on Marseille in the later Middle Ages. He has covered subjects ranging from women and Jews to legal history and spatial imagination, which was the subject of his first book, Imaginary Cartographies: Possession and Identity in Late Medieval Marseille (1999). His current book, forthcoming as Legal Plunder: Households and Debt Collection in Late Medieval Europe(Harvard University Press, 2016), approaches transformations in the material culture of the later Middle Ages using household inventories and inventories of debt recovery from Lucca and Marseille. Smail's work in deep history and neurohistory has addressed some of the methodological and theoretical underpinnings of these approaches to the human past. His most recent article in this vein asks whether there is a history of the practice of compulsive hoarding. His books include The Consumption of Justice: Emotions, Publicity, and Legal Culture in Marseille, 1264-1423 (2003); On Deep History and the Brain (2008), and, with Andrew Shryock and others, Deep History: The Architecture of Past and Present (2011).

Mathieu Tillier, Université Paris-Sorbonne

Mathieu Tillier is currently professor of Medieval Islamic history at the University of Paris-Sorbonne and a member of the research unit “Orient et Méditerranée” (UMR 8167) at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique. Previously, he was associate professor at Aix-Marseille Université (2005-2014). He spent two years in Oxford as a Marie Curie research fellow (2008-2010) and four years in the Middle East (Damascus, Beirut) at the Institut français du Proche-Orient (Ifpo, 2010-2014). 

His research focuses on justice, on the formation of Islamic law, and on the institutions of Christian communities in the first centuries of Islam. He is the author of Les cadis d’Iraq et l’État abbasside(132/750-334/945) (Damascus: Presses de l’Ifpo, 2009), and translated into French the works of Ibn Ḥajar al-ʿAsqalānī and al-Kindī devoted to Egyptian qadis: Vies des cadis de Miṣr, 237/851-366/976. Extrait du Rafʿ al-iṣr ʿan quḍāt Miṣr d’Ibn Ḥaǧar al- ʿAsqalānī (Cairo: Institut français d’archéologie orientale [Ifao], 2002); al-Kindī, Histoire des cadis égyptiens (Cairo: Ifao, 2012). He is the editor of Abū Hilāl al-ʿAskarī’s book Le Livre des califes qui s’en remirent au jugement d’un cadi (Cairo: Ifao, 2011) and has recently began editing documents on papyrus and paper related to judicial institutions in medieval Egypt.

Oded Zinger, Duke University

Oded Zinger (PhD Princeton 2014) is the 2014-2016 Perilman post-doctoral fellow at Duke Center for Jewish Studies. He is currently turning his dissertation into a book tentatively titled: Law, Gender and Community: Marital Strife and Legal Institutions in the Jewish Community of Medieval Egypt. His Research has been or will soon be published in, among other venues, Medieval Encounters and Arabica: Journal of Arabic and Islamic Studies. Next year Zinger will be a member of the “Jewish Women’s Cultural Capital from the Late Middle Ages Through the Early Twentieth Century” research group in Israel Institute for Advanced Studies.