Sunday, December 1, 2019

Stein Book Award to Fahmy

Another book award announced at the recent meeting of the ASLH was the Peter Gonville Stein Book Award, "for the best book in legal history written in English" and "sit[ting] outside of the field of US legal history." This year's winner was Khaled Fahmy (Cambridge), for In Quest of Justice: Islamic Law and Forensic Medicine in Modern Egypt (University of California Press, 2018)

The citation from the committee:
Exploring the intersection of law and medicine, In Quest of Justice masterfully rewrites the legal history of nineteenth-century Egypt.  The book persuasively argues that legal reform in the modern Middle East was tied to the centralization of state power rather than efforts to adopt Western legal norms. Fahmy’s focus on the siyasa courts and their neglected documents corrects a historiographical bias towards privileging the history of shari‘a courts. While important, shari‘a courts were just one of many legal orders that existed in the Middle East in this period.  Fahmy demonstrates that the siyasa courts are vital for our understanding of the legal transformations of the nineteenth century.  The book moves seamlessly through background information, historiography, case studies, and new findings that revise the field.
An Honorable Mention went to Rohit De (Yale University), for A People’s Constitution: The Everyday Life of Law in the Indian Republic (Princeton University Press, 2018).

The members of this year's Stein Book Award Committee were: Jisoo Kim (George Washington University); Jessica Marglin (University of Southern California); Matthew C. Mirow (Florida International University); Daniel Lord Smail (Harvard University); David V. Williams (University of Auckland); Rachel Jean Baptiste (University of California, Davis). We thank them for their service and offer our congratulations to Khaled Fahmy and Rohit De!

-- Karen Tani