Monday, May 18, 2015

New Release: Cuno, "Modernizing Marriage"

New from Syracuse University Press: Modernizing Marriage: Family, Ideology, and Law in Nineteenth- and Early Twentieth-Century Egypt, by Kenneth M. Cuno (University of Illinois). A description from the Press:
In 1910, when Khedive Abbas II married a second wife surreptitiously, the contrast with his openly polygamous grandfather, Ismail, whose multiple wives and concubines signified his grandeur and masculinity, could not have been greater. That contrast reflected the spread of new ideals of family life that accompanied the development of Egypt’s modern marriage system. Modernizing Marriage explores the evolution of marriage and marital relations, shedding new light on the social and cultural history of Egypt.

Family is central to modern Egyptian history and in the ruling court did the "political work." Indeed, the modern state began as a household government in which members of the ruler’s household served in the military and civil service. Cuno discusses political and sociodemographic changes that affected marriage and family life and the production of a family ideology by modernist intellectuals, who identified the family as a site crucial to social improvement, and for whom the reform and codification of Muslim family law was a principal aim. Throughout Modernizing Marriage, Cuno examines Egyptian family history in a comparative and transnational context, addressing issues of colonial modernity and colonial knowledge, Islamic law and legal reform, social history, and the history of women and gender. 
A few blurbs:
"Eagerly anticipated, Cuno’s Modernizing Marriage more than delivers on its promise. Drawing on compelling evidence and written with great clarity, the book details the dramatic changes marriage underwent in late nineteenth and early twentieth century Egypt. Anyone interested in the study of law, society, family, and gender must read this fascinating book."—Beth Baron

"Modernizing Marriage takes up a fundamental question for political, social, legal, and cultural history: how did we become moderns? Using marriage as his lens, Cuno weaves together a remarkable account of this process within the Egyptian context of the long nineteenth century."—Wilson Chacko Jacob
More information is available here.