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Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

28 November 2019
In November, American Society for Legal History (ASLH) awarded the book, In Quest of Justice, the Peter Gonville Stein Award at its annual meeting in Boston. The Peter Gonville Stein Book Award is awarded annually for the best book in legal history written in English. This award is designed to recognize and encourage the further growth of fine work in legal history that focuses on all non-US regions, as well as global and international history.

In the award ceremony, the head of the committee, Dr Matthew C. Mirow, read the following citation: "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."