This essay engages Beshara Doumani's Family Life in the Ottoman Mediterranean. It highlights Doumani's significant deconstruction of the culturalist assumptions of the category of the Arabor Muslim family. Based on the wealth of the archive uncovered by Doumani, the essay calls for further engagement with the Islamic legal tradition in the analysis of sharia court records in order to better understand the relation between state, law, and community. Finally, it elaborates on Doumani's important contributions to the anthropology of kinship.

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