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

4.10  ·  Rating Details  ·  83 Ratings  ·  10 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 network ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published September 2nd 1993 by Oxford University Press, USA
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Jul 25, 2011 Karen rated it really liked it
Although a chronologically confusing read for those who don't have a background in the Ottoman Empire, but it successfully challenges western views of gender roles and power of the Harem.
Zachary Schulz
May 04, 2013 Zachary Schulz rated it liked it

Within The Imperial Harem: Women and Sovereignty in the Ottoman Empire, Leslie Peirce posits that during the sixteenth to seventeen centuries the Ottoman Empire shifted from a conquest driven polity to bureaucracy anchored by the Imperial family and the senior female members. She holds that “the growing importance of the imperial palace as a center of government gave women both greater physical proximity to the sultan and expanded opportunities for building networks of influence.” (p. x) As suc

J.M. Hushour
Feb 23, 2013 J.M. Hushour rated it really liked it
A re-envisioning of the role of women at the Ottoman courts of the 16th and 17th centuries. Pretty good stuff: details the politicizing of reproduction, concubines, and the political responsibilities of moms, slave women, and the ways in which male dynasts were moving in the same arenas of "seclusion". It's not really seclusion, though. Fully illustrated but not in the way you might want.
Dan Gorman
Jun 18, 2015 Dan Gorman rated it really liked it
Dense, but fascinating. Peirce argues that the women of the royal Ottoman court, from the 1600s through the late 1700s, exercised a great degree of legitimate political power, both behind-the-scenes and during public rituals, although Peirce says we shouldn't think of the Ottomans with a simple public/private dichotomy. The favorite concubines and, above all, the mother of the sultan exercised a huge degree of autonomy. The royal harem was not the prison Western Christians imagined, but lively p ...more
Larissa Nordholt
Oct 31, 2012 Larissa Nordholt rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
A must-read for anyone interested in harem politics in the Ottoman empire!
Elia Princess of Starfall
I became interested in learning more about the Ottoman Empire, the Sultans and the institution of the Imperial Harem after watching 'The Magnificent Century'. The series revolves around the reign of Sultan Süleyman 'the Magnificent', his relationship with his favoured Haseki Hürrem Sultan and the triumphs and disasters of the Ottoman Empire during the era of the 16th century.

Needless to say I was intrigued and decided to peruse the history section of my university library in search of books on
Sand Princess
Feb 26, 2015 Sand Princess rated it really liked it
An extremely well written book which is suitable for anyone who has no prior knowledge on the subject or has previously read on the topic.
Nov 16, 2013 Santa rated it it was amazing
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.
May 28, 2009 Sarah rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: No one
Recommended to Sarah by: Someone crazy
This is quite possibly the worst book I've ever read.
Salama Bin Amro
worth to be read
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