Home > Anthropology > People > Professor Martha Mundy

Professor Martha Mundy

mundyProfessor Martha Mundy is a specialist in the anthropology of the Arab World whose research has concerned anthropology of law and the state, the comparative sociology of agrarian systems, and the anthropology of kinship and family. Her first major fieldwork was conducted from 1973-77 in North Yemen. During that time she began to work on the anthropology of Islamic law. Before joining the LSE she taught at UCLA, Lyon 2 Lumière University, The American University of Beirut, and Yarmouk University in Jordan. During her ten years in Jordan (1982-92) she began a project of historical anthropology examining the transformation of political and economic relations in late Ottoman Southern Syria, present north Jordan. This combines work on law, on the state, and on village society and has involved archival work in Istanbul and Damascus as well as research into oral history and administrative records in Jordan. From 2000-02 she held a British Academy Research Readership; she has recently returned to work on contemporary issues of law and society and the crisis of agriculture in the Arab East.

Selected publications:

2013. The Solace of the Past in the Unspeakable Present: The historical anthropology of the ‘Near East’, The Goody Lecture 2013, Halle/Saale, Max Planck Gesellschaft, Impress Drukerei.

2013.  ‘The importance of the tapu records for understanding the social and economic history of the Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire in the late 19th and early 20th centuries: North Jordan and South Lebanon’ in D. Güney, M. Yıldırır, S. Kadıoğlu (eds.) International Congress of The Ottoman Geopolitics Management of Cultural Archive Heritage and Role of Land Registry Archives, Tapu ve Kadastro Genel Müdürlüğü, Ankara, Korza Yayıncılık, pp. 757-773.

2010. 'Islamic law and the order of state' in P. Sluglett (ed.), Studies in Ottoman and Modern Syria, Leiden: Brill Publishers.

2007/2013. M. Mundy and R. Saumarez Smith, Governing Property, Making the Modern State: Law, administration and production in Ottoman Syria, Library of Ottoman Studies 9, London, I.B. Tauris Publishers. Turkish updated edition (Scientific editor Yavuz Aykan): Modern Devlet’e Giden Yolda Mülk Siyaseti: Osmanlı Suriyesi’nde hukuk, yönetim ve üretim, Istanbul, Tarih Vakfı Yurt Yayınları, 2013.

2007. (co-authored with Richard Saumarez Smith) Governing property, making the modern state: Law, administration and production in Ottoman Syria. London: IB Tauris. 

2004. (co-edited with Alain Pottage) Law, anthropology, and the constitution of the social: Making persons and things. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

2004. Property or office? A debate in Islamic Hanafite jurisprudence over the nature of the military 'fief,' from the Mamluks to the Ottomans. In Law, anthropology and the constitution of the social: Making persons and things, Alain Pottage and Martha Mundy (eds). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

2004. The state of property: late Ottoman Southern Syria (the Kaza Aclun, 1875-1918). In Constituting modernity: Private property in the east and west, H. Islamoglu (ed). London: IB Tauris (for the European Science Foundation).

2003. (with R. Saumarez Smith) 'Al-mahr zaytuna: property and family in the hills facing Palestine (1880-1940). In Family history in the Middle East: Household, property and gender, B. Doumani (ed). Albany: SUNY Press.

2002. (editor) Law and anthropology. Aldershot: Ashgate Press.

2000. The transformation of nomadic society. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

1995. Domestic government: Kinship, community and politics in North Yemen. London: IB Tauris.