17-18세기 오스만사회의 변화와 도시 여성의 삶과 지위
Changes in the Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Ottoman Society and Urban Women"s Lives and Status
Women"s status in Islamdom has been a sensitive problem provoking debates for decades. The prevalent impression has been that women in Islamdom were consistently repressed from the Abbasid Caliphate down to the Western impact of modernity, and that perspective is related to the idea that Islamic societies have stagnated due to their underpinnings of "unchanging"sharia. As a response to this stereotype, I hope to give a refutation by showing that the Ottoman urban societies and the women who lived in them were dynamically changing. The research on this front is unfolding only now. Middle-class women in the troubled seventeenth and eighteenth centuries actively claimed their legal rights through proactive lawsuits, and elite women who were connected to the politics of household cultivated their political and social influence, Women started participating in the pleasurable events of the Tulip Period (1718-1730), and the uninhibited behavior of some women gave rise to concerns about corrupt sexual morals. Women invested assets in all kinds of profitable ventures and proactively secured and protected their livelihood. Thus, women were not necessarily isolated in harem, but rather they generally played weighty social and economic roles in a way that was not so readily visible. Of course the roles and leverages that women of this period had were limited by the restrictions put by the pre-Tanzimat Ottoman society, and their power was put into effect mostly through the family and household networks. Nonetheless, we can find in every period examples In which women"s roles and status changed In historical conjunctures, and the Ottoman women who displayed various unconventional behavioral patterns make a case in point. Thus we outsiders may not preclude that Islamic women are unable to make change in their own social context. Although there is no reason to embellish the lives of pre-modern Islamic women, the very diverse possibilities they demonstrated shed new light on the present situation and show the significance of employing historical approaches to women"s history.
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