The bulk of the research for this study was carried out in Egypt, and I would like to thank the Fulbright Organization and the Social Science Research Council for generous grants that made my two-year stay there possible. I am particularly grateful to friends and colleagues in Egypt who helped me navigate my way through Egyptian life. I owe a deep debt of gratitude to Ahmad ʿAbd al-ʿAziz Adam, my constant companion and friend in Cairo. My special thanks go to Muhammad Shishtawi, who assisted me in reading the endowment deeds (waqfiyyat) at the Ministry of Religious Endowments (Wizarat al-Awqaf).
I am immensely grateful to numerous scholars, friends, and family members who have helped me during my work as a student and researcher. I would like to express particularly strong appreciation for the efforts of Richard Bulliet, who inspired my interest in socioeconomic history and quantitative methodology. His guidance and assistance as my advisor over the years has been of immeasurable value. Joel Kaye was also immensely supportive, playing devil's advocate and helping me shape the focus of a comparison that constantly threatened to get out of control. If some elements of this comparison do indeed remain unwieldy, I can only say that I tried my best to internalize his wise, cautionary voice.
I would like to thank the other members of my committee who helped guide me through the final stages of my thesis, which preceded this work: Charles Tilly, Richard Nelson, and Neguin Yavari. Carl Petry assisted me with valuable advice on issues related to every facet of life in Mamluk Egypt. Remie Constable was extremely supportive with her suggestions and comments, particularly during the early stages of the research for this book. I would also like to thank the editors at the University of Texas