a1 Department of History, University of Vermont, Burlington, Vt.; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Economic history is an underdeveloped discipline in Middle Eastern historiography. Within our field, economic history articles are not published often, and books on economic history are rare. It is true that certain topics have been better explored than others, as Maya Shatzmiller's contribution to this roundtable on medieval economic history shows. Previous scholarship on Ottoman economic history has focused on land tenure, fiscal practices and institutions, artisanal production and organization (almost exclusively in urban areas), economic and charitable functions of awqāf, and, especially for the 19th century, questions relevant to Ottoman incorporation into the capitalist world system. There also exist studies on urban and rural markets, regional and long-distance trade networks, and economic activities of specific individuals (primarily government officials and provincial notables), although these tend to be descriptive. But there are very limited numbers of studies on standards of living; levels, accumulation, and distribution of wealth; productivity in agricultural production and manufacture; demography (especially for the 17th and 18th centuries); credit relations and financial institutions; and economic development. As in the literature on medieval Islamic contexts, sophisticated quantitative research is particularly rare, which makes empirically based comparisons among different parts of the region and with other parts of the world very difficult.
(Online publication July 26 2012)