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Title: In the Courts of the Nations: Jews, Muslims, and Legal Pluralism in Nineteenth-Century Morocco
Authors: Marglin, Jessica Maya
Advisors: Cohen, Mark R
Contributors: Near Eastern Studies Department
Keywords: Jewish-Muslim Relations
Legal History
Moroccan Jews
Pre-colonial Morocco
Subjects: Middle Eastern history
Judaic studies
North African studies
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation examines the participation of Jews in Morocco's legal system during the long nineteenth century (up to 1912). It constitutes the first study of Jews' legal strategies in pre-colonial Morocco based on archival evidence. I examine three sets of non-Jewish legal orders which Jews frequented. Part One draws on court records from sharī`a (Islamic law) courts in order to understand when and why Jews made use of these institutions and how they were treated there. Part Two uses the archives of the Makhzan (the Moroccan central government) to discuss how Jews appealed to the state when they felt they had been denied justice at the local level. Part Three draws on consular archives to trace the ways in which Jews with foreign protection made use of consular courts. Throughout the dissertation, I make comparisons with the medieval and early modern periods in order to situate this study in the longue durée of Jews' experience in the Islamic Mediterranean. My analysis of Jews' place in the Moroccan legal system contributes to Jewish and Islamic historiography in three ways. First, I propose an approach to the socio-legal history of the Islamic Mediterranean which emphasizes the perspective of legal actors and the interactions among various legal orders--two aspects of law in action which have hitherto largely been ignored. Second, I offer an alternative to dominant narratives of the history of Jews in the Islamic world. Rather than argue that Jews either benefited from the tolerance of Islamic societies or suffered from the discriminatory nature of Islamic rule, I focus instead on understanding the quotidian interactions among Jews, Muslims, and the various non-Jewish legal institutions which Jews frequented. Third, I suggest a different way of discussing the question of Jewish legal autonomy in the Islamic world. Previous scholarship has argued either that Jews were essentially legally independent or that their autonomy was largely imagined. This dissertation employs the framework of legal pluralism to understand how Jews simultaneously maintained their own legal order and made frequent use of the non-Jewish legal orders available to them.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Near Eastern Studies

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