The presentation has two related objectives. First, it will explore the costs of court use in the early-modern Ottoman context by considering the earnings of two sharia courts at the turn of the eighteenth century. Second, it will contemplate the popularity of these courts as venues of dispute resolution and other types of legal interactions. In the latter regard, I am interested in identifying factors that facilitated (or hindered) Ottoman subjects’ inclinations to bring their legal affairs to the court. The paper will be based on the quantitative information in the Ottoman court records and insights available in relevant (and much better developed) scholarships on select European and Asian settings (such as England, Spain, the Netherlands, and China) in the early modern era to make some preliminary inferences about the Ottoman court-use patterns from a comparative perspective. Methodologically, I am interested in developing a research framework that can effectively utilize Ottoman sources in a fashion that is conversant with the existing approaches in other contexts.
Prof. Boğaç A. Ergene is Professor of History at the University of Vermont
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