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Law, Dynasty, and Islam in Arab Monarchies, 1860s-1930s

November 8 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Adam Mestyan

Speaker: Adam Mestyan, Ph.D.

This talk focuses on the legal codification of dynasties in Arab monarchies between the 1860s and 1930s. In a sweeping survey, it compares how the succession order and the members of the ruling family were defined in laws, decrees, and constitutions in the new national kingdoms of Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia with comparisons to older monarchies, equally impacted by European imperialism, such as Morocco and Oman. The argument I would advance is that constitutionalism prompted dynastic codification which rulers hastened to achieve before and within the writing of basic laws. This feature also meant that certain re-invented Islamic principles of power, such as the preference for male and sane Muslim rulers, were also codified. Thus the new and old dynasties themselves embodied a fictional core of Muslim constitutionalism in the early twentieth century.

Adam Mestyan is a historian of the Middle East. He is a graduate of CEU and ELTE, Budapest. His first monograph, Arab Patriotism – The Ideology and Culture of Power in Late Ottoman Egypt, was published by Princeton University Press in 2017. Mestyan has initiated Project Jara’id – A Chronology of Nineteenth-Century Periodicals in Arabic, an online bibliography.

This event is presented by the John Hope Franklin Center and Duke University’s Center for International and Global Studies. A light lunch will be served. Parking is available in nearby Trent Rd. and Erwin Rd. parking decks. The series provides 1 hour parking vouchers to guests.