Lecture and Book Signing: Ottoman Women, Myth and Reality

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Post  Lina on Tue May 27, 2008 8:52 am

Pittsburgh Dialogue Foundation cordially invites you to the Lecture and Book signing from the Author
of “Ottoman Women, Myth and Reality” organized in partnership with YWCA of greater Pittsburgh.
www.ywcapgh.org

Theme: Ottoman Women, Myth and Reality
Panelist: Asli Sancar.
Mrs. Sancar is a writer and lecturer on women's issues. Born and raised in the US, she has lived in Istanbul
for nearly a quarter of a century since her marriage to a Turk and has been studying the role of women in the
Ottoman Empire for about 10 years. She is a frequent lecturer on the subject and has published two books and
numerous articles about women and the family.
Date: June 8, 2008, Sunday
Time: 4:00pm-6:00pm
Venue: YWCA GREATER PITTSBURGH, 305 Wood Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Phone: (412) 391-5100
Refreshments will be served.

Please RSVP by Friday, June 6
E-mail for RSVP: events@pghdialogue.org
Phone: (412) 628-6871
URL: www.pghdialogue.org
Synopsis: Guided by the accounts of such female travelers as Lady Montagu, Julia Pardoe, and Lucy Garnett,
all of whom lived in Ottoman lands for significant periods of time, this beautifully illustrated book
explores—and hopes to overturn—the 19th-century stereotypes of Ottoman women. Both Eastern and Western accounts
of Turkish society during that time made much of the harem, with Muslim writers describing Turkish women as exotic,
indolent, and depraved, while Europeans usually described them as noble and elegant. Then, with the advent of the
first women's movement in the West, the harem began to be criticized as an institution that trapped women and
enforced their submission to men. All of these ideas were refuted by Montagu, Pardoe, and Garnett, who argued
that Ottoman women were perhaps the freest in the world; this book backs up that claim with historical research
showing that women frequently prevailed in cases against their husbands and other male relatives in the Ottoman courts.
Editorial Reviews: Today's Zaman, By Katharine Branning
This beautifully illustrated book presents a sensitive, respectful and generally unbiased presentation of the
subject and offers a timely contribution to the critical questions facing the relations between Islam and the West,
and Islam and secularism in Turkey. It will serve to encourage the ever-growing field of research into the complexity
of the institution of the harem.
In order to directly jump into the debate and to appeal to the Western reader, Sancar starts her book with an
introduction to the Ottoman women as seen by Western eyes: their physical appearance, refinement, cleanliness,
devoutness, hospitality and generosity, modesty, freedom, love of nature and social status. She quotes the often-cited
accounts of such famous female travelers as Lady Mary Montagu, Julia Pardoe and Lucy Garnett, all of whom traveled or
lived in Ottoman territories during the 18 and 19th centuries. The droves of Western (usually British) female visitors
to the harems in the 19th century were often struck by the nobility and generosity of the women they met, far from the
prevalent depraved and indolent images gleaned from male sources and Orientalist paintings. It is the hope of Sancar
that these unbiased descriptions of harem life will overturn what she considers the tiresome image of the Turkish woman
as one trapped and enslaved to men.
Above all, this is a stunning book to behold and is a gorgeous publication that speaks highly of its publishing house,
The Light, which is committed to producing high-quality publications that contribute to a better understanding of the
issues of religion, science and the promotion of information on the Islamic faith and lifestyle to a Western public
Lina
Lina
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Lecture and Book Signing: Ottoman Women, Myth and Reality Empty Re: Lecture and Book Signing: Ottoman Women, Myth and Reality

Post  martine kratz on Tue May 27, 2008 3:45 pm

Thank you Lina for this, it seems interesting.
martine kratz
martine kratz
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My living area : Sewickley
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