Kanun and Kanunname in Ottoman Historiography

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ottoman kanun plays an important role in shaping perceptions of the Ottoman state, the sultan’s authority, and the empire’s unique combination of Islam and secularity. Much ink has been spilled on the subject of kanun, but there is still considerable confusion in the scholarship. This article provides a roadmap through publications on kanun and kanunnames and identifies problems in the literature and turning points in the scholarship. It focuses on the two main types of general kanunnames: ceremonial codes governing the administrative elite, and general taxation codes with sections on crimes. It aims to clarify which kanunnames were published by whom, analyze trends in the scholarship, trace lines of development, identify additional problems and new areas for further inquiry, and pursue studies of kanun through the most recent quarter century.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)151-177
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2022


  • Ceremonial
  • Kanun
  • Law
  • Ottoman Historiography
  • Sharia
  • Taxation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Anthropology
  • Religious studies
  • Law


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