Rethinking Orientalism: Women, Travel, and the Ottoman Harem

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Rutgers University Press, 2004 - History - 297 pages
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During the nineteenth century, the figure of the passive, oppressed, yet highly sexualized female of the Muslim harem became the pivotal figure of Western orientalism. Despite recent challenges to orientalist thinking, however, an enduring mystique continues to surround Western perceptions of Eastern women.

In Rethinking Orientalism, Reina Lewis makes a major contribution to correcting the prevailing stereotype of the subjugated, silenced woman of the harem. Bringing together published autobiographical accounts of self-identified "Oriental" women at the turn of the twentieth century, she reveals that these women were, in fact, able to intervene in orientalist culture and manipulate cultural codes. Lewis shows how the writings of Demetra Vaka Brown, Halide Edib, Zeyneb Hanum, Melek Hanum, and Grace Ellison were part of a social and textual dialogue with Western women, and how their contentious engagement with Western feminism was an important facet of regional modernization.

Exploring the complicated ways that these writers addressed topics such as seclusion, the veil, and polygamy, Lewis vividly illustrates the possibilities and limitations of resistance that women from Islamic societies have experienced and continue to work within.

 

 

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pg.13 (Lady Montagu) and 129 (Jane Eyre reference) impt

Contents

Introduction
1
Harem Travellers
12
Melek in Yashmak Zeyneb Hanoum A Turkish Woman s European
13
Empire Nation and Culture
53
The Limits of Emancipation
96
Representing Other Women
142
Contested Behaviours Gendered Spaces
178
The Shifting Significance of Clothes
206
Impressions London Seeley Service and Co 1913 235
208
Melek Hanuom Heroine of Pierre Loti s Disenchanted and Suate
237
Commodification Time and Nostalgia The Search
252
Demetra Vaka Demetra Vaka Child of the Orient London John Lane
260
Bibliography
271
Major Tewfik Corporal Halide Major Tahsin and Galib Bey Halide
275
Index
287
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