Seeing like a khedivate: Taxing endowed agricultural land, proofs of ownership, and the land administration in Egypt, 1869

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Theories of state modernization rarely consider the relationship between sovereignty and government capacity. This paper focuses on the khedivate of Egypt, a semi-independent province in the Ottoman Empire. My claim is that endowed agricultural land was a useful tool of fiscal modernization for the khedivial government. The gov¬ ernors taxed and made such lands alienable for public purposes. In order to support this claim, this study uses an 1869 endowment certificate of Hosjar, mother of Khedive Ismail, to examine the regulatory context of endowed agricultural land. Through an archival anthropology of Hosyar's certificate, I describe the legal layer of the khedivial land administration (the regulations about agricultural land) and the physiocratic layer (the proofs of ownership such as the taqslt dlwänl and written land survey registers) in comparison with the Ottoman central administration. This case study thus contributes to the discussion about the compatibility of the Muslim endowment with modernization.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Mestyan, A

Published Date

  • January 1, 2020

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 63 / 5-6

Start / End Page

  • 743 - 787

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1568-5209

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-4995

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1163/15685209-12341526

Citation Source

  • Scopus