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From Persecution to (Potential) Emancipation Female Slaves and Legal Violations in Ottoman Istanbul according to Court Registers (16th-17th Centuries)

Abstract : This article deals with offences and crimes against female slaves, and those committed by female slaves, in Ottoman Istanbul (sixteenth-seventeeth centuries). Its main sources are imperial legislation and court records of the imperial capital, Istanbul, and its suburbs. Judicial archives remain the chief sources of early modern Ottoman histo-riography on gender. This contribution tackles slavery's specificities regarding women, without ignoring the parallels with their male counterparts in the Ottoman Empire. By considering women as both objects and agents of legal violations and acts of violence , I simultaneously deal with the rights of slaveholders and slaves. Violations of these rights varied depending on the identity and juridical status of their authors, and were handled accordingly by the justice system. Thus, I consider violations committed by owners against their slaves, by slaves against their owners, and by third parties against the slaves of others. The rights and mutual obligations of masters and slaves were strictly defined in Ottoman law, although the judicial authorities upheld the preservation of private property above all. They dedicated themselves to fighting against the slightest doubt over masters' quasi-absolute authority over their human possessions , whose unconditional obedience was required. Female slaves, in order to affirm their rights, had to provide irrefutable written proof or trustworthy verbal testimonies at the kadi courts.
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Contributor : Hayri Gökşin Özkoray <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, April 29, 2020 - 9:39:56 AM
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Hayri Göksin Özkoray. From Persecution to (Potential) Emancipation Female Slaves and Legal Violations in Ottoman Istanbul according to Court Registers (16th-17th Centuries). Hawwa, Brill Academic Publishers, 2019, Gender between Law, Religion and Myths: The Surroundings of Fiqh, edited by Mohammed Hocine Benkheira, 17 (2-3), pp.257-280. ⟨10.1163/15692086-12341359⟩. ⟨halshs-02341345⟩



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