Ceyda Karamursel

Lecturer in the Modern Middle Eastern History, HistoryUniversity of Pennsylvania

Award Information

2011 IDRF Program

HistoryUniversity of Pennsylvania

Victims, Tricksters, and Homemakers: The Worlds of Slave Women in the Ottoman Empire, 1789-1922

This project will examine the practice and distinctive features of slavery in the Ottoman Empire throughout the long nineteenth century. It will begin by asking why Ottoman slavery involved mostly women and in what ways female slaves' reception and assimilation into Ottoman society differed from that of male slaves . Second, it will look at how and when such categories as age, race, ethnicity or class mattered and how their meanings and experience changed over time. Finally, it will examine how the Ottoman institution of slavery, distinct from other slavery systems most notably by its lack of abolition, faced new ideologies, such as nationalism, in which Ottoman state’s involvement in (re)defining women became stronger as slavery itself came to a silent end. Focusing on phases of slaves’ plight; their uprooting from their origins, their passage to and reception in their new environments as well as their manumission, this project will draw from and contribute to the emerging field of Ottoman slavery studies as well as the larger literature of history and theory of slavery.