Reform & Reality: Prisons in the Late Ottoman Empire

A lecture by Kent Schull, Binghamton University

This talk discusses criminal justice policy and practice, particularly prisons in the late Ottoman Empire by juxtaposing the ideology of reform with the reality of implementation and lived experience within the empire's prison system.  This juxtaposition provides valuable insights into various aspects of Ottoman modernity, particularly regarding issues of administrative reform and regulation, professionalization of prison personnel, the codification of Islamic criminal law, gender and childhood, the rehabilitation of prisoners, the prevention of corruption and prisoner abuse, and the conceptualization of crime and punishment within Ottoman culture and society.  It also complicates notions of Ottoman modernization by challenging assumptions that Ottoman reform was a failed process of Westernization and secularization.

Dr. Kent F. Schull is an assistant professor of Ottoman and modern Middle East history at SUNY Binghamton. He received his doctorate from UCLA in 2007 and is a twice Fulbright scholar to Turkey. His publications focus primarily on criminal justice and identity in the Ottoman Empire and include Prisons in the Late Ottoman Empire: Microcosms of Modernity (Edinburgh University Press, April 2014), Living in the Ottoman Realm: Sultans, Subjects, and Elites, coedited with Christine Isom-V erhaaren, forthcoming from Indiana University Press (2015), and several articles and book chapters.  He is currently serving as the editor of the Journal of the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association (JOTSA).

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Duration: 45:48

Published: Monday, July 14, 2014