Modernizing Marriage

Family, Ideology, and Law in Nineteenth- and Early Twentieth-Century Egypt

Kenneth M. Cuno

In 1910, when Khedive Abbas II married a second wife surreptitiously, the contrast with his openly polygamous grandfather, Ismail, whose multiple wive

English edition
330 pp.
8, 1
15X23cm
ISBN 9789774167263
For sale only in the Middle East

$25.00

In 1910, when Khedive Abbas II married a second wife surreptitiously, the contrast with his openly polygamous grandfather, Ismail, whose multiple wives and concubines signified his grandeur and masculinity, could not have been greater. That contrast reflected the spread of new ideals of family life that accompanied the development of Egypt’s modern marriage system. Modernizing Marriage explores the evolution of marriage and marital relations, shedding new light on the social and cultural history of Egypt. Family is central to modern Egyptian history and in the ruling court did the “political work.” Indeed, the modern state began as a household government in which members of the ruler’s household served in the military and civil service. Cuno discusses political and socio-demographic changes that affected marriage and family life and the production of a family ideology by modernist intellectuals, who identified the family as a site crucial to social improvement, and for whom the reform and codification of Muslim family law was a principal aim. Throughout Modernizing Marriage, Cuno examines Egyptian family history in a comparative and transnational context, addressing issues of colonial modernity and colonial knowledge, Islamic law and legal reform, social history, and the history of women and gender.

Kenneth M. Cuno

Kenneth M. Cuno is associate professor of history at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He received his doctorate from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1985 and taught for several years in the Center for Arabic Studies of the American University in Cairo. He co-edited Race and Slavery in the Middle East (AUC Press, 2010) and is the author of The Pasha’s Peasants: Land, Society and Economy in Lower Egypt, 1740–1858 (AUC Press, 1992).
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