The Imperial Harem: Women and Sovereignty in the Ottoman Empire

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Oxford University Press, 1993 - Psychology - 374 pages
4 Reviews
The unprecedented political power of the Ottoman imperial harem in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries is widely viewed as illegitimate and corrupting. This book examines the sources of royal women's power and assesses the reactions of contemporaries, which ranged from loyal devotion to armed opposition. By examining political action in the context of household networks, Leslie Peirce demonstrates that female power was a logical, indeed an intended, consequence of political structures. Royal women were custodians of sovereign power, training their sons in its use and exercising it directly as regents when necessary. Furthermore, they played central roles in the public culture of sovereignty--royal ceremonial, monumental building, and patronage of artistic production. The Imperial Harem argues that the exercise of political power was tied to definitions of sexuality. Within the dynasty, the hierarchy of female power, like the hierarchy of male power, reflected the broader society's control for social control of the sexually active.

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Review: The Imperial Harem: Women and Sovereignty in the Ottoman Empire

User Review  - Santa - Goodreads

I find this book important, not only as a study which serves well in shattering persisting western myths, but also as a starting point for research in entirely new field of study with respect to political involvement of the Ottoman women. Read full review

Review: The Imperial Harem: Women and Sovereignty in the Ottoman Empire

User Review  - Larissa Nordholt - Goodreads

A must-read for anyone interested in harem politics in the Ottoman empire! Read full review


The House of Osman
Wives and Concubines The Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries
The Age of the Favorite 15201566
The Age of the Queen Mother 15661656
The Imperial Harem Institution
Women and Sovereign Power
Shifting Images of Ottoman Sovereignty
The Display of Sovereign Prerogative
The Politics of Diplomacy
The Exercise of Political Power
Women Sovereignty and Society
Genealogical Charts

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Page 4 - ... is a space to which general access is forbidden or controlled and in which the presence of certain individuals or certain modes of behavior are forbidden. That the private quarters in a domestic residence and by extension its female residents are also referred to as a "harem" comes from the 1slamic practice of restricting access to these quarters.

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About the author (1993)

Leslie P. Peirce is Professor of History and Near Eastern Studies, University of California, Berkeley

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