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Forms of Law in the Early Modern Persianate World, 17th-19th centuries

Objective

This project will study concepts and practices of law across the early modern Persianate world, investigating how this specific cultural milieu structured understanding of law, legal expression and efforts to secure rights and justice. It will do so by focusing on the ordinary users of law, rather than on specialists, and by using legal documents written in Persian and associated languages produced in five major linguistic-cultural zones stretching from the Indian subcontinent to Iran and the northern and western Indian Ocean. Working with the surviving record of everyday transactions (legal deeds); formularies that standardised such legal forms; extant adjudication records and relevant jurisprudential literature, we shall pay particularly close attention to language – exploring how translation, multi-lingualism, orality and literacy facilitated processes of vernacularisation of Islamic law, and was actuated through the social and material world of writing.

The findings of this project will make significant contributions to several fields, such as: the history of Islamic law and its vernacularisation in various political, cultural and demographic contexts, the history of law and commerce in the Indian Ocean, the history of legal pluralism in Islamic and European empires.

This ambitious project will be pursued by an international team of distinguished scholars working under my direction. Together, we will access untapped historical records from archives and collections in India, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Iran, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Tanzania; and read and analyse texts in variations of Persian, in combination with Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Rajasthani, Gujarati and Arabic.

Outputs proposed are: 2 intensive workshops; 2 collective publications including 2 articles by each of the core project team members (1 for the PI); 1 monograph by the PI; and a major digitisation project which will enhance an existing database of Persian-language legal documents.

Call for proposal

ERC-2016-STG
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Host institution

THE UNIVERSITY OF EXETER
Address
The Queen's Drive Northcote House
EX4 4QJ Exeter
United Kingdom
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 1 370 491,91

Beneficiaries (2)

THE UNIVERSITY OF EXETER
United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 1 370 491,91
Address
The Queen's Drive Northcote House
EX4 4QJ Exeter
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
PHILIPPS UNIVERSITAET MARBURG

Participation ended

Germany
EU contribution
€ 129 131,09
Address
Biegenstrasse 10
35037 Marburg
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments