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1. There was no administrative unit called Palestine during the Ottoman period. This name is used to denote the territories defined as Palestine during the British Mandate (1920–1948). It is doubtful whether the name Palestine was commonly used by the native population to refer to a specific territory or nation before the late nineteenth century. In official correspondence and court cases registered in the Nablus Islamic court up to 1865 the word appeared only once, and the context precluded a nationalist meaning. This is not to say that the idea of Palestine as a territorial unit, once it emerged as part of everyday political discourse among the inhabitants, had no local or Ottoman roots. This issue still awaits a systematic investigation. For a preliminary discussion, see Beshara Doumani, “Rediscovering Ottoman Palestine: Writing Palestinians into History,” JPS, 21:2 (Winter 1992), pp. 9–10; and Alexander Schölch, Palestine in Transformation, 1856–1882: Studies in Social, Economic, and Political Development (Washington, D.C., 1993), pp. 9–17. [BACK]

2. Throughout this book the name Nablus is used to refer to the city alone; and the name Jabal Nablus, to the city and its hinterland combined. [BACK]

3. For example, Halil Iṅalcik, Studies in Ottoman Social and Economic History (London, 1985); Huri Iṡlamoğlu-Iṅan, ed., The Ottoman Empire and the World Economy (Cambridge, England, 1987); and I. Metin Kunt, The Sultan’s Servants: The Transformation of Ottoman Provincial Government, 1550–1650 (New York, 1983). [BACK]

4. For example, in chronological order, Abdel-Karim Rafeq, The Province of Damascus, 1723–1783 (Beirut, 1966); André Raymond, Artisans et commerçants au Caire au XVIIIe siècle, 2 vols. (Damascus, 1973–1974); Leila Fawaz, Merchants and Migrants in Nineteenth-Century Beirut (Cambridge, Mass., 1983); Linda Schatkowski Schilcher, Families in Politics: Damascene Factions and Estates of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries (Stuttgart, 1985); James Reilly, “Origins of Peripheral Capitalism in the Damascus Region, 1830–1914” (Ph.D. diss., Georgetown University, 1987); Bruce Masters, The Origins of Western Economic Dominance in the Middle East: Mercantilism and the Islamic Economy in Aleppo, 1600–1750 (New York, 1988); and Abraham Marcus, The Middle East on the Eve of Modernity: Aleppo in the Eighteenth Century (New York, 1989). [BACK]

5. The following are but a few examples of a large body of literature that ranges from modernization, dependency, and world-system frameworks to works that draw on Marxist theories. They are listed in chronological order: H. A. R. Gibb and Harold Bowen, Islamic Society and the West, 2 vols. (Oxford, 1951, 1957); Bernard Lewis, The Emergence of Modern Turkey (Oxford, 1961); William R. Polk and Richard L. Chambers, eds., Beginnings of Modernization in the Middle East: The Nineteenth Century (Chicago, 1968); Iṅalcik, Studies; Samir Amin, Accumulation on a World Scale (New York, 1974); Çağlar Keyder, “The Dissolution of the Asiatic Mode of Production,” Economy and Society 5 (May 1976), pp. 178–196; Peter Gran, Islamic Roots of Capitalism, Egypt 1760–1840 (Austin, Tex., 1979); Bruce McGowan, Economic Life in Ottoman Europe (Cambridge, England, 1981); Immanuel Wallerstein and Reşat Kasaba, “Incorporation into the World Economy: Change in the Structure of the Ottoman Empire, 1750–1839,” in J.–L. Bacqué-Grammont and Paul Dumont, eds., Économie et sociétés dans l’Empire ottoman fin du XVII–début du XXe siècle (Paris, 1983), pp. 335–354; Şevket Pamuk, Ottoman Empire and the World Economy, 1820–1913: Trade, Capital, and Production (Cambridge, England, 1987); Iṡlamoğlu-Iṅan, ed., Ottoman Empire; I. Smilianskaya, Al-Buna al-iqtisadiyya wa-al-ijtima‘iyya fi al-mashriq al-arabi ala masharif al-asr al-hadith (Social and Economic Structures in the Arab East on the Eve of the Modern Period) (Beirut, 1989); Rifa‘at Ali Abou El-Haj, Formation of the Modern State in the Ottoman Empire, Sixteenth to Eighteenth Century (Albany, N.Y., 1991). [BACK]

6. One of the most useful works outlining these issues is Roger Owen, The Middle East in the World Economy, 1800–1914 (London, 1981). [BACK]

7. See, for example, Roger Owen, “The Middle East in the Eighteenth Century—An ‘Islamic’ Society in Decline? A Critique of Gibb and Bowen’s Islamic Society and the West,Review of Middle East Studies, 1 (1975), pp. 101–112. An overview of previous critiques as well as a useful bibliography can be found in Huri Iṡlamoğlu-Iṅan, “Introduction: ‘Oriental Despotism’ in World System Perspective,” in Iṡlamoğlu-Iṅan, ed., Ottoman Empire, pp. 1–24. [BACK]

8. As of late, these areas have become the object of intensive but still mostly unpublished research. By way of example, see Antoine Abdel Nour, Introduction à l’histoire urbaine de la Syrie ottomane, XVIe–XVIIIe siècle (Beirut, 1982); Suraiya Faroqhi, Towns and Townsmen of Ottoman Anatolia: Trade, Crafts and Food Production in an Urban Setting, 1520–1650 (Cambridge, England, 1984); Lucette Valensi, Tunisian Peasants in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries (Cambridge, England, and New York, 1985); Ken Cuno, The Pasha’s Peasants: Land, Society, and Economy in Lower Egypt, 1740–1858 (Cambridge, England, 1992); Alixa Naff, “A Social History of Zahle, the Principal Market Town in Nineteenth-Century Lebanon” (Ph.D. diss., University of California, Los Angeles, 1972); Hala Fattah, “The Development of the Regional Market in Iraq and the Gulf, 1800–1900” (Ph.D. diss., University of California, Los Angeles, 1986); and Dina Khoury, “The Political Economy of the Province of Mosul: 1700–1850” (Ph.D. diss., Georgetown University, 1987). [BACK]

9. Gabriel Baer, “The Impact of Economic Change on Traditional Society in Nineteenth Century Palestine,” in Moshe Ma‘oz, ed., Studies on Palestine during the Ottoman Period (Jerusalem, 1975), p. 495. [BACK]

10. Alexander Schölch, “European Penetration and the Economic Development of Palestine, 1856–1882,” in Roger Owen, ed., Studies in the Economic and Social History of Palestine in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries (London, 1982), pp. 10–87. Schölch expanded this article and incorporated it into his book, Palestine in Transformation. See also Ya‘akov Firestone, “Production and Trade in an Islamic Context: Sharika Trade Contracts in the Transitional Economy of Northern Samaria, 1853–1943,” IJMES, 6 (1975), pp. 185–209; Marwan Buheiry, “The Agricultural Exports of Southern Palestine 1885–1914,” JPS, 10:4 (Summer 1981), pp. 61–81; and Haim Gerber, “Modernization in Nineteenth-Century Palestine: The Role of Foreign Trade,” MES, 18 (1982), pp. 250–264. [BACK]

11. Schölch, “European Penetration,” p. 55. By Greater Syria I mean here the areas today known as Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Israel/Palestine. [BACK]

12. For a similar periodization, see Schilcher, Families in Politics, pp. 76–77. [BACK]

13. For a concise and provocative statement of this issue, see Janet L. Abu-Lughod, Before European Hegemony: The World System, A.D. 1250–1350 (Oxford, 1989). For the Ottoman period, see Çağlar Keyder and Faruk Tabak, eds., Landholding and Commercial Agriculture in the Middle East (Albany, N.Y., 1991). For Egypt, see Cuno, Pasha’s Peasants. [BACK]

14. For example, C. A. Bayly, Rulers, Townsmen and Bazaars: North Indian Society in the Age of British Expansionism, 1770–1870 (Cambridge, England, 1983); David Ludden, Peasant History in South India (Princeton, N.J., 1985); and Sugata Bose, ed., South Asia and World Capitalism (Delhi, 1990). [BACK]

15. Albert Hourani, “Ottoman Reform and the Politics of Notables,” in Polk and Chambers, eds., Beginnings of Modernization, pp. 41–68. [BACK]

16. For example, Philip Khoury, Urban Notables and Arab Nationalism: The Politics of Damascus, 1860–1920 (Cambridge, England, 1983). [BACK]

17. Owen, Middle East, pp. 52–53. [BACK]

18. For a similar characterization of the role of merchants in Greater Syria, see Dominique Chevalier, “De la production lente à l’économie dynamique en Syrie,” Annales, 21 (1966), p. 67; and Owen, Middle East, pp. 88–89. [BACK]

19. For a detailed discussion of the points that follow and comprehensive references to the arguments made, see Doumani, “Rediscovering Ottoman Palestine: Writing Palestinians into History.” [BACK]

20. See, for example, George Adam Smith, Historical Geography of Palestine (London, 1894). Smith dwelt in great detail on the religious significance of the Holy Land and provided maps so accurate that they were consulted by the British government in defining the borders of Palestine during the Versailles Conference in 1919. As far as he was concerned, however, the history of Palestine stopped in A.D. 634 , with the Arab conquest, and did not resume until Napoleon’s invasion in 1798 except for the brief interlude of the Crusades. Thirteen centuries of continuous settlement by an Arabized Palestinian population are barely mentioned, and when they are, it is only to stress the inferiority and irrationality of the Orient as compared to the Occident. [BACK]

21. For example, Abd al-Wahab al-Kayyali, Tarikh Filastin al-hadith (The Modern History of Palestine) (9th ed.; Beirut, 1985). [BACK]

22. For example, Moshe Ma‘oz, Ottoman Reform in Syria and Palestine, 1840–1861: The Impact of the Tanzimat on Politics and Society (Oxford, 1968), p. v; and Yehoshua Ben-Arieh, “The Population of the Large Towns in Palestine during the First Eighty Years of the Nineteenth Century According to Western Sources,” in Ma‘oz, ed., Studies on Palestine, p. 49. For a general critique of Israeli nationalist historiography on the Ottoman period, see Doumani, “Rediscovering Ottoman Palestine: Writing Palestinians into History,” pp. 18–22; David Myers, “History as Ideology: The Case of Ben Zion Dinur, Zionist Historian ‘Par Excellence,’ ” Modern Judaism 8:2 (May 1988), pp. 167–193; and Edward Said and Christopher Hitchens, eds., Blaming the Victims: Spurious Scholarship and the Palestinian Question (London and New York, 1988). [BACK]

23. This was especially true in travelers’ accounts and photographic images, both of which constantly referenced the Biblical period. For an insightful discussion of the latter genre, see Sarah Graham-Brown, Palestinians and Their Society, 1880–1946: A Photographic Essay (London and New York, 1980). Also, see Annelies Moors and Steven Machlin, “Postcards of Palestine: Interpreting Images,” Critique of Anthropology, 7 (1987), pp. 61–77. Still, the output was so prolific that a great deal of invaluable information about economic, social, and cultural life was gathered during this period. For examples, see M. Volney, Travels through Syria and Egypt in the Years 1783, 1784, and 1785 (2 vols.; London, 1788); John Lewis Burckhardt, Travels in Syria and the Holy Land (London, 1822); Smith, Historical Geography; Elizabeth Anne Finn, Palestine Peasantry: Notes on Their Clans, Warfare, Religion and Laws (London, 1923); James Finn, Stirring Times: Or Records from Jerusalem Consular Chronicles of 1853 to 1856 (ed. Elizabeth Anne Finn; 2 vols.; London, 1878); Mary Eliza Rogers, Domestic Life in Palestine (London, 1862; reprint, London and New York, 1989); and P. J. Baldensperger, The Immovable East: Studies of the People and Customs of Palestine (Boston, 1913). [BACK]

24. For example, see NIMR, 1:139; and Aref al-Aref, “The Closing Phase of Ottoman Rule in Jerusalem,” in Ma‘oz, ed., Studies on Palestine, pp. 334–340. [BACK]

25. Amnon Cohen, Palestine in the Eighteenth Century: Patterns of Government and Administration (Jerusalem, 1973); and Ahmad Hasan Joudah, Revolt in Palestine in the Eighteenth Century: The Era of Shaykh Zahir al-Umar (Princeton, N.J., 1987). Both books focus on high politics and Ottoman administration. In contrast, a number of authors have written on the period before the supposed era of Ottoman decline: the sixteenth century. For example, see Uriel Heyd, Ottoman Documents on Palestine, 1552-1615: A Study of the Firman According to the Muhimme Defteri (Oxford, 1960); Wolf-Dieter Hütteroth and Kamal Abdulfattah, Historical Geography of Palestine, Transjordan and Southern Syria in the Late Sixteenth Century (Erlangen, Germany, 1977); Amnon Cohen and Bernard Lewis, Population and Revenue in the Towns of Palestine in the Sixteenth Century (Princeton, N.J., 1978); and Amnon Cohen’s two books on Jerusalem: Jewish Life under Islam: Jerusalem in the Sixteenth Century (Cambridge, Mass., and London, 1984), and Economic Life in Jerusalem (Cambridge, England, 1989). [BACK]

26. Some of these lacunae are just beginning to be addressed. For example, see two articles by Judith Tucker, “Marriage and Family in Nablus, 1720–1856: Towards a History of Arab Muslim Marriage,” Journal of Family History, 13 (1988), pp. 165–179; and “Ties That Bound: Women and Family in Late Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Nablus,” in Nikkie Keddie and Beth Baron, eds., Women in Middle Eastern History: Shifting Boundaries in Sex and Gender (New Haven, Conn., and London, 1991), pp. 233–253. Also, see Annelies Moors, “Women and Property: A Historical-Anthropological Study of Women’s Access to Property Through Inheritance, the Dower and Labour in Jabal Nablus, Palestine” (Ph.D. diss., University of Amsterdam, 1992); Suad M. Amiry, “Space, Kinship and Gender: The Social Dimensions of Peasant Architecture in Palestine” (Ph.D. diss., University of Edinburgh, 1987); and Ruba Kana‘an, “Patronage and Style in Mercantile Residential Architecture of Ottoman Bilad al-Sham: The Nablus Region in the Nineteenth Century” (M.Phil. thesis, University of Oxford, 1993). [BACK]

27. Fernand Braudel, The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II (2d ed., 2 vols.; New York, 1976), 1:14. [BACK]

28. They rarely spent more than one or two nights. Usually, their stories revolved around the same icons: Jacob’s well at the entrance of the valley, the ancient scrolls of the Samaritan community, the lush canopy of orchards and gardens surrounding the city, and the Roman ruins in the nearby village of Sebastya. See, for example, Walter Keating Kelly, Syria and the Holy Land: Their Scenery and Their People (London, 1844), pp. 410–435. [BACK]

29. Finn, Stirring Times, 2:154. [BACK]

30. These records are privately owned. To my knowledge, they are the only ones of their kind that exist for the entire Fertile Crescent, other than a volume covering one year (1844–1845) for Damascus. I am indebted to Lubna Abd al-Hadi for kindly facilitating my access to them. They consist almost entirely of letters and reports, the overwhelming majority of which are responses to inquiries from the governors of Sidon and Jerusalem about fiscal, political, and administrative matters. Regular reports were also sent to the military commander of the region concerning the provisioning of troops and conscription. There are also copies of a number of petitions and letters from peasants, merchants, and employees addressed to the council. There are no records of direct communication between the council and the central government in Istanbul or any minutes of meetings. [BACK]

31. For details on the types of cases to be found in the Nablus Islamic court records and the difficulties they pose in terms of quantification and interpretation, see Beshara Doumani, “Merchants, the State, and Socioeconomic Change in Ottoman Palestine: The Nablus region, 1800–1860” (Ph.D. diss., Georgetown University, 1990), chap. 3. [BACK]

32. I am indebted to Arjun Appadurai for this concept. See his article, “Introduction: Commodities and the Politics of Value,” in Arjun Appadurai, ed., The Social Life of Things (Cambridge, England, 1986), pp. 3–63. He argues (p. 13) that “the commodity situation in the social life of any ‘thing’ be defined as the situation in which its exchangeability (past, present, or future) for some other thing is its socially relevant feature.” [BACK]

33. Grains were also key products of Jabal Nablus and no doubt played a crucial role in urban-rural relations. Surprisingly, however, the sources contained very little information on the grain trade, forcing its exclusion from this study. Monographs focusing on a particular commodity are not new in Ottoman history. See, for example, Roger Owen, Cotton and the Egyptian Economy, 1820–1914 (Oxford, 1969); and Schilcher, Families in Politics. The latter deals primarily with the grain trade. [BACK]

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