Professor Martha Mundy

Professor Martha Mundy

Professor Emeritus

Department of Anthropology

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About me

Professor 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.  Before joining the LSE in 1996 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 combined work on law, on the state, and on village society and involved archival work in Istanbul and Damascus as well as research into oral history and administrative records in Jordan. Since her retirement in 2012, she has continued work on agrarian history and the contemporary crisis of agriculture in the Arab East.

Expertise Details

Arab societies; law; agrarian systems; sociology of Islam; historical anthropology; kinship

Selected publications

2015.  M. Mundy and F. Pelat, ‘‘The political economy of agriculture and agricultural policy in Yemen’ in N. Brehony & S. AlSarhan (eds.), Rebuilding Yemen: Political, Economic and Social Challenges, Berlin, Gerlach Press, pp. 98 - 122.

2015.   S. Elnour, C. Gharios, M. Mundy, R. Zurayk, ‘The right to the village? Concept and history in a village of South Lebanon’ in Spatial Justice/Justice spatiale.

2014.  M. Mundy, A. al-Hakimi,  F. Pelat, ‘Neither security nor sovereignty: the political economy of food in Yemen’, in Z. Babar and S. Mirgani (eds.) Food Security in the Arab World, London, Hurst and New York, Oxford University Press, pp. 137-159.  

2014. ‘Ethics and politics in the law: on the forcible return of the cultivator’, in S. Kenan (ed.) İSAM Konuşmaları · Düşüncesi · Ahlak · Hukuk · Felsefe · Kelâm [İSAM Papers: Ottoman Thought · Ethics · Law · Philosophy-Theology] Istanbul, İSAM Yayıncılık, pp. 51-75.

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.

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.

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.