This text originated from a critique of a liberal understanding of property relation as one between a person and a "thing". States are perceived to be fundamental obstacles on the way to an individual's appropriation of the "thing". State intervention is often considered to be a reason for a presumed absence of private property in non-European contexts. The research presented here contests these assumptions from different perspectives, both in a European and non-European context. As multidisciplinary as it is wide-ranging, the work ranges from practices of the 19th-century Otoman administrative government in the constitution of private property rights to the practice of cadastral mapping in British India. These essays, prepared in collaboration as part of a unified research programme, cover Ottoman and British land laws, property rights in the British colonies, and the notion of property as a contested domain and a site of power relations in 19th-century China.
Huri Islamoglu teaches economic history and political economy at Bovgazici University, Istanbul and at the Central European University, Budapest. Her publications include 'The Ottoman Empire and the World Economy' and 'State and Peasant in the Ottoman Empire.'