Women and Slavery in the Late Ottoman Empire: The Design of Difference

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Overview

Madeline Zilf's latest book examines gender politics through slavery and social regulation in the Ottoman Empire. In a challenge to prevailing, notions, her research shows that, throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, females slavery was not only central to Ottoman practice but also a critical component of imperial governance and elite social reproduction. As Zilfi illustrates through her accounts of the particular vulnerabilities of slave women, the failures of abolitionism in the Ottoman Middle East were due in large part to the overwhelmingly female character of the slave institution in the later centuries. The book focuses on the experience of slavery in the Ottoman capital of Istanbul, also using comparative data from Egypt and North Africa to illustrate the regional diversity and local dynamics that were the hallmarks of slavery in the Middle East during the early modern era. This is an articulate and informed account that sets the Ottoman system in the context of more general debates on women, slavery, and the construction of social dependency.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Review of the hardback: 'Madeline Zilfi's book examines gender politics through slavery and social regulation in the Ottoman Empire. Her research shows that, throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, female slavery was not only central to Ottoman practice but also a critical component of imperial governance and elite social reproduction.' The Middle East

Review of the hardback: '... all specialized libraries and historians of the Ottoman Empire, and those working in Enslavement Studies should definitely own it; and the author should be commended on her accomplished and valuable work.' Insight Turkey

'Zilfi's masterful new work creates space for debate on the topic of women, slavery and the gender hierarchy in the late Ottoman Empire ... This contribution will undoubtedly shape the nature of research into slavery in the Ottoman Empire, and represents a major work in the burgeoning field of Ottoman slavery studies. Furthermore, to its great credit, this book contains an excellent bibliography which gathers the secondary studies on slavery in the Middle East and its immediate geographical proximity as well as the relevant methodological literature. It will be a boon for future scholars of slavery in the Ottoman Empire.' Nur Sobers-Khan, New Middle Eastern Studies

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Madeline C. Zilfi is Associate Professor of History at the University of Maryland. Her previous publications include The Politics of Piety: The Ottoman Ulema in the Post-Classical Age (1988), and she was also the co-editor of Women in the Ottoman Empire: Middle Eastern Women in the Early Modern Middle East (1997).

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Table of Contents

List of illustrations vii

Preface and acknowledgments xi

Mote on transliteration xiii

Chronology xv

1 Empire and imperium 1

2 Currents of change 22

3 Women and the regulated society 45

4 Telling the Ottoman slave story 96

5 Meaning and practice 153

6 Feminizing slavery 189

7 Men are kanun, women are shari'ah 216

Abbreviations 237

Selected works 239

Index 271

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