The Lives of Women in Early Modern England and the Ottoman Empire

Authors Organisations
Type

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy

Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Richard John Alex Ruben Rathbone
  • Karen Stöber
Award date2007
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Abstract

The focus of this doctoral thesis is a study of the lives, roles and status of
women in early modern England and the Ottoman Empire in the early modern
period. In an attempt at investigating the position that women enjoyed in the
early modern period, the study focuses on women's status in the religious,
political, social, artistic and literary spheres. The thesis concludes with an
analysis of all of the above information, resulting in the parallels that can be
drawn between the two cultures as regards women and gender issues. An
attempt is made at investigating possible causes for the similarities as well as
the differences; the extent to which these can be attributed to biased or
inaccurate accounts, as well as the extent to which these similarities and
distinctions are based on religious doctrines and/or cultural influences. The
study also aims to assess women's participation in the male-dominated public
sphere essentially .from within their relegated private sphere.

My contribution to the study of women's history in both historical regions
therefore is to provide a comparative element. Instead of exploring a certain
aspect of English or Ottoman women's history separately, I endeavour to study the existing information cross-culturally with the intention of picking out
not only the dissimilarities between English and Ottoman women's lives but
also try to determine common ground between the two cultures, in an attempt
at presenting a more holistic understanding of women's experiences. Although Anglo-Ottoman relations have hitherto been researched in political, commercial, economic and cultural terms, it has largely been male-focused. This study therefore, attempts to examine Anglo-Ottoman relations and perceptions with women as their focus, looking at both English male perceptions and opinions of Ottoman women, and English women's first-hand accounts and interactions with Ottoman women. These perceptions and interactions will then further be discussed along with the independent studies of Ottoman women based on Ottoman archives so as to try and determine the reliability of some of these perceptions and accounts. This results in the question of whether the actual practise of women's roles coincided with their normative position and status in the Bible and the Qur'an. This issue therefore forms an important part of the investigation and analysis of English and Ottoman women's social roles