17 December 2018

PRIZE: Peter Gonvill STEIN AWARD to Fahad A. BISHARA, A Sea of Debt: Law and Economic Life in the Western Indian Ocean, 1780-1950 (Cambridge: CUP, 2017)

The ASHL attributed the Peter Gonveil Stein Award 2018 at its latest annual meeting.

Praise for the winner:
Fahad A. Bishara’s Sea of Debt is an ambitious and imaginatively conceived study that shows how law was a crucial force in tying together actors across the western Indian Ocean. Bishara follows Islamic law and its paperwork as they circulated between the Arabian Peninsula and East Africa. We learn how merchants from South Asia engaged with Islamic legal norms and institutions, and how all of this shifted as the British imperial presence intensified from the 1860s. Sea of Debt’s use of Arabic sources is particularly impressive, and sets the book apart from much work on the British imperial world. Illuminating the intersection of law and capitalism from Muscat to Mombasa (with a special focus on Zanzibar), Sea of Debt reveals how local actors—including is, jurists, traders, moneylenders, clerks, lawyers, and judges—shaped transoceanic commercial practices across the trade in dates, cloves, ivory and slaves through legal norms and networks.
A Sea of Debt can be found on the CUP website.

An honourable mention was conferred upon Tom Lambert, Law and Order in Anglo-Saxon England (Oxford: OUP, 2017). More on the book here.

(source: Legal History Blog)

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