Sabancı Üniversitesi


History Seminar: Abdurrahman Atçıl (Istanbul Şehir University)


The Making of Ottoman Law: The Agency and Interaction of Diverse Groups in Lawmaking  in the Early Modern Ottoman Empire



Abdurrahman Atçıl

(Istanbul Şehir University)


JANUARY 6, 2020  15:40-17:30


FASS 2054


Abstract: Examining religio-legal opinions (fetva) of scholars and decrees of sultans (kanun), this presentation aims to expose the hybridity of Ottoman law by revealing the agency and interaction of diverse groups in the lawmaking process. It intends to move beyond the well-known role of such actors as the government (the sultan and his representatives) and scholars, in order to better understand the role of other, lesser-known actors, such as local groups with entrenched interests, non-Muslim communities, common people, founders of pious endowments, guilds, merchants, and others.  

Bio: Dr. Abdurrahman Atçıl is an associate professor of history at Istanbul Şehir University. He received his Ph.D. degree from the University of Chicago in 2010. Before joining Şehir, he worked as a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University in 2010 and as an assistant professor at Queens College of the City University of New York (CUNY) from 2011 to 2014. In his research, he is particularly interested in questions of law, religion, and politics in the early modern Ottoman Empire. His first book, Scholars and Sultans in the Early Modern Ottoman Empire (Cambridge University Press, 2017), details the transition of Ottoman scholars from independent actors to scholar-bureaucrats in the period 1300–1600. The rest of Dr. Atçıl’s published work investigates such issues in this period as scholarly mobility, the relationship between philosophy and law in the Islamic legal tradition, the palace library, and various forms of Ottoman governance.