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Women and the City, Women in the City

Women and the City, Women in the City: A Gendered Perspective on Ottoman Urban History

Edited by Nazan Maksudyan
Copyright Date: 2014
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 210
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  • Book Info
    Women and the City, Women in the City
    Book Description:

    An attempt to reveal, recover and reconsider the roles, positions, and actions of Ottoman women, this volume reconsiders the negotiations, alliances, and agency of women in asserting themselves in the public domain in late- and post-Ottoman cities. Drawing on diverse theoretical backgrounds and a variety of source materials, from court records to memoirs to interviews, the contributors to the volume reconstruct the lives of these women within the urban sphere. With a fairly wide geographical span, from Aleppo to Sofia, from Jeddah to Istanbul, the chapters offer a wide panorama of the Ottoman urban geography, with a specific concern for gender roles.

    eISBN: 978-1-78238-412-0
    Subjects: Sociology, History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Figures
    (pp. ix-ix)
  4. Preface. Kaffee und Kuchen
    (pp. x-xii)
    Nazan Maksudyan
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 1-12)
    Nazan Maksudyan

    It is well established that men and women have considerably varied experiences of the city in relation to housing, use of transport, relative mobility, and spheres of employment. Now a customary trope among urban theorists, theflâneur,¹ someone who finds delight and pleasure in ambling contentedly and unhurriedly through the city, is necessarily a male figure.² As Wilson succinctly puts it, “Men—white middle-class men at least, and in particular—own the street without thinking about it. Women must always make a conscious claim, must each time assert anew their right to be ‘streetwalkers’.”³ Still, it took a while for...

  7. Part I. Women and the Reorganization of Urban Life

    • Chapter 1 Times of Tamaddun: Gender, Urbanity, and Temporality in Colonial Egypt
      (pp. 15-35)
      On Barak

      Tamaddun, a key concept standing in turn-of-the-century Egypt for “civilization” or “urbanity,” is usually associated with space, and particularly with the space of the city (madina), which was undergoing dramatic transformations, involving significant social change. For example, with the introduction of the tramway into Cairo in 1896, the city tripled its size within roughly two decades, witnessing new rural-to-urban migration, suburbanization, and various other transformations that drew much criticism as well as ample praise. Technologies such as the tramway, as well as the telephone (introduced into Egyptian cities in 1881) or the automobile (appearing in 1903) allowed urban centers simultaneously...

    • Chapter 2 Women in the Post-Ottoman Public Sphere: Anti-Veiling Campaigns and the Gendered Reshaping of Urban Space in Early Republican Turkey
      (pp. 36-68)
      Sevgi Adak

      The gender aspect of social change in early republican Turkey has been studied mainly with reference to well-known Kemalist reforms, such as the secularization of the civil code. In fact, as a more ambiguous reform agenda in terms of content and application, the question of women’s dress is one of the richest cases through which the transformation of the gender regime under the Kemalist regime and the interaction between state and societal actors can be studied. Since veiling encompassed the whole system of seclusion of women,¹ anti-veiling campaigns entailed direct state intervention in deeply rooted gender codes, and reshaping of...

  8. Part II. Male Spaces, Female Spaces?: Limits of and Breaches in the Gendered Order of the City

    • Chapter 3 Playing with Gender: The Carnival of al-Qays in Jeddah
      (pp. 71-85)
      Ulrike Freitag

      In the course of conducting interviews on the urban history of Jeddah, a port city in the Hijaz region of present-day Saudi Arabia, I came across the story ofal-Qaysor, in the local rendering,al-Gēs. It was told to me first by a gentleman, about sixty years of age and hailing from one of the important families of old Jeddah. He had himself grown up in the old walled city of Jeddah, commonly known asal-Balad.¹ Talking about places of religious importance, traditional festivals, and social life, he suddenly remembered something from his youth which he said might interest...

    • Chapter 4 Mixed Marriage, Prostitution, Survival: Reintegrating Armenian Women into Post-Ottoman Cities
      (pp. 86-106)
      Vahé Tachjian

      The incident took place at the end of 1918, a short time after the Armistice. The well-known intellectual and writer, Yervant Odian, after his exile to the Syrian deserts, eventually returned to his home, Istanbul. He boarded a train in Konya and found that there were many people seated in the carriage, among whom were Turkish policemen. These last drank, sang, and played musical instruments without pause, occasionally inviting their mistresses in from the next car. Among these women was a beautiful Armenian from Bandırma. Very well educated, she had read Odian’s works and wanted to meet him. He took...

    • Chapter 5 “This time women as well got involved in politics!”: Nineteenth Century Ottoman Women’s Organizations and Political Agency
      (pp. 107-136)
      Nazan Maksudyan

      In March 1892, Jewish ladies of Péra and Galata founded a new charitable society to relieve the pains of poor women and children who emigrated from Russia and Corfu and who were in distress in Istanbul. The misfortunes of many poor Jewish families of different quarters of the city also attracted their attention. By the same token, in 1904 Bulgarian women’s organizations were applying to the Consulates of the Great Powers to secure the release of a few Bulgarian women who were arrested by the Ottoman authorities due to their participation in theIlindenUprising of 1903. Again with objectives...

  9. Part III. Discourses and Narratives of Gender in the Urban Context

    • Chapter 6 Early Republican Turkish Orientalism? The Erotic Picture of an Algerian Woman and the Notion of Beauty between the “West” and the “Orient”
      (pp. 139-148)
      Nora Lafi

      In Istanbul, in February 1924, theResimli Gazete(Picture Newspaper) published on its front page an article about the fascination of European men with North African women, illustrated with the picture of a semi-naked young Algerian woman.¹ It is obvious that the article is of a highly ambiguous nature, as it is itself a manifestation of the very voyeurism it describes with false distancing. It is also very representative of a trend that developed in the late-nineteenth-century Ottoman Empire and in early republican Turkey that could be labeled Turkish orientalism. Developing in the last third of the nineteenth century with...

    • Chapter 7 The Urban Experience in Women’s Memoirs: Mediha Kayra’s World War I Notebook
      (pp. 149-168)
      Christoph Herzog

      The historian Margeret Strobel, in her essay on “Gender, Sex, and Empire,” remarked that “[f]or substantial time periods, we know little of what indigenous women were doing, much less thinking; the documentary records, be they colonial or indigenous, have left more data about political and economic activity than about the daily domestic lives of individuals. And it is here, in the domestic realm, that much of women’s activity has taken place. . . .”¹ This statement was made almost two decades ago in reference to the female populace of the European colonial empires but it is also true for what...

  10. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 169-170)
  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 171-188)
  12. Index
    (pp. 189-195)