Friday, November 2, 2018

Fahmy on Islamic Law and Forensic Medicine

Out this month with the University of California Press is In Quest of Justice: Islamic Law and Forensic Medicine in Modern Egypt by Khaled Fahmy, University of Cambridge. From the press: 
In Quest of Justice by Khaled FahmyIn Quest of Justice provides the first full account of the establishment and workings of a new kind of state in Egypt in the modern period. Drawing on groundbreaking research in the Egyptian archives, this highly original book shows how the state affected those subject to it and their response. Illustrating how shari’a was actually implemented, how criminal justice functioned, and how scientific-medical knowledges and practices were introduced, Khaled Fahmy offers exciting new interpretations that are neither colonial nor nationalist. Moreover he shows how lower-class Egyptians did not see modern practices that fused medical and legal purposes in new ways as contrary to Islam. This is a major contribution to our understanding of Islam and modernity.
 Some reviews: 

"Through extensive research in Egyptian archives, engaging and creative scholarship, and deep engagement with the history of colonial law and medicine, Khaled Fahmy has produced a masterpiece that confirms his standing as the preeminent social and cultural historian of nineteenth century Egypt." -Eugene Rogan

"Fahmy rewrites the narrative of legal and institutional development by bringing in the Egyptian state with its new capacities and its elite as actors with clear interests and strategies of their own, as well as the broader Egyptian population whose protests and accommodations shaped this history.  This book will make a very major impact in a variety of fields, including those of the history of Islamic law and legal institutions, public health, and urban planning in Egypt." -Judith Tucker

"A deft and original historian, Khaled Fahmy mobilizes the richly populated medical and legal records of a hybrid system of mid-nineteenth century tribunals to rethink the foundations of a distinctive Egyptian modernity." -Brinkley Messick

"Khaled Fahmy's In Quest of Justice is an excellent study on nineteenth-century Egyptian modernization in the Ottoman social and cultural context.The author uses the human body as a metaphor to explain modernization politics and elegantly arranges the book around the five senses: sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. We read about practices such as dissection, sewers, vaccination, torture, quarantine, market control and procedural justice. In addition, Fahmy elaborates on the lives of the non-elite population in a fascinating way, based on archival documents." -Rudolph Peters

Further information is available here.