Harem Histories

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Table of Contents

Introduction / Marilyn Booth 1
I. Normative Images and Shifting Spaces
1. Early Women Exemplars and the Construction of Gendered Space: (Re-)Defining Feminine Moral Excellence / Asma Afsaruddin 23
2. Normative Notions of Public and Private in Early Islamic Culture / Yaseen Noorani 49
3. The Harem as Gendered Space and the Spatial Reproduction of Gender / Irvin Cemil Schick 69
II. Rooms and Thresholds: Harems as Spaces, Socialities, and Law
4. Caliphal Harems, Household Harems: Baghdad in the Fourth Century of the Islamic Era / Nadia Maria El Cheikh 87
5. Domesticating Sexuality: Harem Culture in Ottoman Imperial Law / Leslie Pierce 104
6. Panotopic Bodies: Black Eunuchs as Guardians of The Topkapi Harem / Jateen Lad 136
7. Where Elites Meet: Harem Visits, Sea Bathing, and Sociabilities in Precolonial Tunisia, c. 1800–1881 / Julia Clancy-Smith 177
8. The Harem as Biography: Domestic Architecture, Gender, and Nostalgia in Modern Syria / Heghmar Zeitlian Watenpaugh 211
III. Harems Envisioned
9. Harem/House/Set: Domestic Interiors in Photography from the Late Ottoman World / Nancy Micklewright 239
10. Dress and Undress: Clothing and Eroticism in Nineteenth-Century Visual Representations of the Harem / Joan DelPlato 261
11. Harems, Women, and Political Tyranny in the Works of Jurji Zaydan / Orit Bashkin 290
12. The Harem as the Seat of Middle-class Industry and Morality: The Fiction of Ahmet Midhat Efendi / A. Holly Shissler 319
13. Between Harem and Houseboat: "Fallenness," Gendered Spaces, and the Female National Subject in 1920s Egypt / Marilyn Booth 342
Bibliography 375
Contributors 401
Index 405

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Essays on this history and culture of the harem, with a strong focus on the physical spaces and architectural constructs they occupied

About the Author

Marilyn Booth holds the Iraq Chair in Arabic Studies at the University of Edinburgh. She is author of May Her Likes Be Multiplied: Biography and Gender Politics in Egypt, and books and essays on Arabic vernacular poetry, modern Arabic fiction, constructions of masculinity in early Arabic gender discourse, and the theory and practice of literary translation. She is an award-winning translator of contemporary Arabic fiction.


"Harem Histories, a collection of essays edited by the esteemed translator and scholar Marilyn Booth, examines the idea of the harem in western (European and American) and, eastern (generally Turkish and Arab) literatures, images, and historical records'...makes a useful lens for understanding current narratives about Muslim women as well as earlier histories, stories, and the people who wrote them." M. Lynx Qualey, Women's Review of Books, March 2012 "A very important contribution to the literature on the harem, this collection will quickly become a standard text in cultural studies, Middle Eastern studies, gender studies, and the visual arts."--Mary Roberts, author of Intimate Outsiders: The Harem in Ottoman and Orientalist Art and Travel Literature "Harem Histories includes magisterial essays by a number of leading scholars at the top of their game, and takes us through a series of insightful and inspiring examinations of the harem system. Delightful cultural analyses of literary and visual depictions of the harem link Western and Eastern cultural producers, drawing out the tensions and relationships between different socio-sexual orders."--Reina Lewis, author of Rethinking Orientalism: Women, Travel, and the Ottoman Harem

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