Research Center for International Relations

Research Center for International Relations

May 4, 2011

Dr. Tuba Demirci

OTTOMAN MUSLIM FAMILIES AND REFORM OF THE PRIVATE DOMAIN
IN THE LATE OTTOMAN EMPIRE

Abstract

“With the proclamation of the Reform Edict of Tanzimat (Re-Organization), also known as Gülhane Hatt-ı Hümayunu, in 1839 an institutionalized process of modernization officially began in the Ottoman Empire. The period between 1839 and 1908 was characterized by “purposive modernizations” through which basic institutions could be reformed in Ottoman society to withstand the economic and social challenges posed by the West. These purposively oriented reforms were chiefly centered on the critique and transformation of the key institutions not only in state apparatus, but also in the wider social realm. In the second half of the nineteenth century, “Ottoman Muslim family” and its reform became one of the most important components of this contemporary reform project, and commencing from the Tanzimat period onwards a modern discourse on family, which included the critical appraisal of intra-family relations, gender relationships, procreation and sexuality, morality, hygiene and purity, was formed. This talk will examine the nineteenth century reforms, reform debates and subsequent regulations pertaining to the private domain, i.e., constitution of families, marriage, sexuality/procreation and child discipline. While historicizing the emergence of these reforms, contemporaneous literary accounts, polemical works, commentaries and advice literature which were produced to address and opt for change on ‘private issues’ such as marital accord, sexuality, purity, child rearing and discipline will also be conveyed. Finally, the emergence and potential of Ottoman bureaucratic state as a modern interventionist one, and the making of the new Ottoman intellectual will be examined in the medium of these reform debates, policies and polemical literature to reveal how Ottoman society was re-conceptualized through a new form of power-repression axis, and a new economy of power and discipline.”

   

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Research Center for International Relations