Item description for Women in the Ottoman Empire: Middle Eastern Women in the Early Modern Era (Ottoman Empire and Its Heritage, Vol 10) by Madeline C. Zilfi...
This collection of articles by 14 Middle East historians is a pathbreaking work in the history of Middle Eastern women prior to the contemporary era. The collection seeks to begin the task of reconstructing the history of (Muslim) women's experience in the middle centuries of the Ottoman era, between the mid-seventeenth century and the early nineteenth, prior to hegemonic European involvement in the region and prior to the "modernizing reforms' inaugurated by the Ottoman regime.
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Intriguing essays on forgotten women Apr 24, 2000
The scarcity of information on early modern Ottoman/Islamic women makes this book a real treasure, and the glossary of Arabic/Turkish terms is especially helpful. For the amount of information between the covers, it's definitely worth the price! For Westerners who seek a better understanding of Islam, the history of Muslim women is crucial. Women of that period were married between 12 and 17 (compared to 24-26 years of age for Western women in the early modern period). The Ottoman woman's marginalization and subjugation is not far from the Western woman's--yet it is based not on physical weakness, but on fear of the woman's "fitna"--her potential to tempt men and be a threat to social order! Were all Islamic women locked up in harems? Certainly not, and the book explains other aspects of a woman's life, such as the power of instant repudiation (divorce) which the husband possessed, the "nuqsan" (deficiency)of a woman's nature, and the religious, political and social restrictions women were under. Do not confuse Ottoman/Islamic practices of that period with the mandates of the Prophet, however. Taken in the context of the period, the many essays offer a fascinating glimpse into the real world of an Ottoman woman.