Entangled Legal Formations: Crimea under Russian Rule in the Late Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries
Opwis, Felicitas M
This dissertation explores the transformation of Crimean legal structures after the Russian Empire annexed the Crimean peninsula in 1783. Up until today, no extensive study has examined the annexation’s impact on the Crimean legal system, especially with respect to Islamic law. In order to understand the changes that transpired within the legal sphere in Crimea following the annexation, this dissertation research relies on an analysis of the Crimean Sharīʿa sıcıls (Islamic court records) and the court records of the Russian legal venues that were introduced in Crimea in the late eighteenth century. The dissertation implements the analytical perspectives found in works on histoire croisée or entangled histories and studies of colonialism as well as studies of law and empire. Relying on the methodological approaches found in these fields, the dissertation formulates a conceptual framework called “entangled legal formations” to explain judicial transformations in Crimea following the annexation. The annexation did not completely erase the existing legal practices. Analyzing the changes of Crimean legal structures through the concept “entangled legal formations” reveals that the transformations of the local legal institutions and traditions produced a reciprocal impact on the imperial state, shaping some aspects of its imperial policies and imperial self-identity.
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