The aim of the conference (30 June-2 July 2011) was to examine the role of women within Ottoman society and to question some of the more stereotypic representations of women not as integrated, active and visible members of society but as excluded, or contained and secluded objects.



  • Chair: Professor Abdul-Karim Rafeq (College of William and Mary)
  • Professor Suraiya Faroqhi (Bilgi University, Istanbul), Women as textile owners in early eighteenth-century Bursa. 
  • Professor Palmira Brummett (University of Tennessee), The ‘what if?’ of the Ottoman female: authority, ethnography, sexuality, conversation. 
  • Professor Amy Singer (University of Tel Aviv), Ottoman women and philanthropy. 
  • Dr Svetlana Ivanova (Sofia University), The Muslim Woman and the book in Rumeli in the pre-Industrial period. 

Economic life

  • Chairs: Dr Ebru Boyar (METU, Ankara), Professor Leslie Peirce (New York University)
  • Dr Alex Sapoznik (University of Cambridge), Women’s contribution to household income in late medieval England. 
  • Dr Birten Çelik (METU, Ankara), Unconcious pioneers in female emancipation: Ottoman working women in the late Ottoman empire. 
  • Professor Barbara Wittman (University of Akron), An assessment of market women’s livelihood strategies and informal networks in South Africa. 
  • Dr Kate Fleet (University of Cambridge), Women as economic protestors in nineteenth-century Istanbul. 
  • Dr Svetla Ianeva (New Bulgarian University, Sofia), The economic activities of women in the central part of the Ottoman Balkans in the nineteenth century.

Society and space

  • Chair: Kate Fleet (University of Cambridge)
  • Dr Nina Ergin (Koç University, Istanbul), Ottoman women’s spaces: the acoustic dimension. 
  • Professor Edith Ambros (University of Vienna), How secluded was the Ottoman woman in public pleasure-grounds? 
  • Erol Baykal (University of Cambridge), Patriotic nurses during the Balkan Wars. 

Order and Violence

  • Chair: Professor Palmira Brummett (University of Tennessee)
  • Professor Leslie Peirce (New York University), Violence against women in early modern Anatolia. 
  • Dr Ebru Boyar (METU, Ankara), Prostitution and public order in the late Ottoman empire. 

Law and the court

  • Chair: Dr Mary Laven (University of Cambridge)
  • Professor Abdul-Karim Rafeq (College of William and Mary), Women in the court records of Ottoman Damascus. 
  • Dr James Baldwin (Koç University, Istanbul), Ottoman policy on divorce in 17th-century Cairo: legal pluralism and legal change. 

Identity and representation

  • Chair: Professor Suraiya Faroqhi (Bilgi University, Istanbul)
  • Professor Paul Bailey (University of Edinburgh), The multiple identities of the “modern woman” in early twentieth-century East Asia. 
  • Professor Lucienne Thys-Şenocak (Koç University, Istanbul), Reading beyond the lines: Hadice Turhan Sultan and the correspondence of imperial Ottoman women. 
  • Dr Kostantin Zhukov (Oriental Institute, St Petersburg), The Ottoman women as seen through the eyes of Ariadna Tyrkova-Williams. 

Intellectual life

  • Chair: Professor Edith Ambros (University of Vienna)
  • Dr Didem Havlioğlu (University of Utah), The Ottoman woman as an intellectual. 
  • Dr Dominic Brookshaw (University of Manchester), Confection of the assembly: women poets in early nineteenth-century Iran. 


  • Chair: Dr Kate Fleet (University of Cambridge)
  • Nur Khan (University of Cambridge), Gendered slave-owning practices in early modern Istanbul. 
  • Will Smiley (University of Cambridge),Gendering captivity: female and male prisoners, Islamic law and the legitimacy of Ottoman warfare. 
  • Professor Carmel Cassar (University of Malta), The Jewesses of Malta: slaves and peddlers, healers and diviners. 
  • Dr Felicitas Becker (University of Cambridge), What do we know about relations between (ex-)slave women and (ex-)mistresses on the southern Swahili Coast in the 20th century? 


The organizers gratefully acknowledge the support of the Thriplow Trust, the George Macaulay Trevelyan Trust and Newnham College.