Mina Khalil

  • Fellowship Dates 2018-2019
  • Research Topic History of the Criminal Defendant in Modern Egypt, 1820s-1920s
  • Fellow or Grant Type Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs
  • Affiliation Pre-doctoral candidate University of Pennsylvania
To what extent did Mehmed Ali, Egypt’s famous Ottoman governor in the early 19th century, put Egypt on a discernibly different legal trajectory than the one designed in Istanbul, the Ottoman imperial capital? How did executive authority, embodied in new legal codes and institutions, including new executive-juridical tribunals (majalis) and new courts of appeals (maakim), erected by Mehmed Ali and developed further by his sons and grandsons, create a modern Egypt distinct from its Ottoman past? Here, two main questions drive this research: To what extent was Egypt indeed an autonomous province of the Ottoman Empire beginning in the nineteenth century and to what extent can we speak of legal ruptures in modern Egypt from its historical past? This research sheds light on a critical point in modern Egyptian history in which new legal concepts, laws and institutions shaped the emergence of the modern Egyptian state. It charts the shifts that took place in the redefinition of the concept of the individual in modern Egyptian society during the 19th and early 20th centuries. While much has been researched and written about modern Egypt’s legal and social history, this research provides an innovative socio-legal account of modern Egyptian legal institutions and the characters who animated them and the legal subjects regularly affected by them. The research examines changes that took place in the redefinition of certain unlawful acts and new evidentiary requirements to prove such acts in court and other juridical tribunals, as well as new socio-legal positions of different legal subjects affected by these judicial procedures - beginning this history with Mehmed Ali’s rule in the early 19th century and ending it under British colonial rule in the early 20th century.

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