“She Is No Longer Pure!” Allegations of Sexual Transgression and Defamation in Eighteenth-Century Istanbul

Monday, January 5, 2015: 11:40 AM
Concourse D (New York Hilton)
Leyla Kayhan Elbirlik, Ozyegin University
The presentation explores the defamation of Ottoman women based on hearsay and speculations of sexual transgression in 18th-century Istanbul.  According to Islamic law the acts of sexual transgression and especially adultery were punished severely based on the level of the alleged crime.  The main objective of the paper is to demonstrate the degree of agency and legal awareness employed by women in the Ottoman shari’a court.