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The Imperial Harem


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Table of Contents

Introduction: Myths and Realities of the Harem Part I: The Politics of Reproduction 1. The House of Osman 2. Wives and Concubines: The Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries 3. The Age of the Favorite: 1520-1566 4. The Age of the Queen Mother: 1566-1656 5. The Imperial Harem Institution Part II. Women and Sovereign Power 6. Shifting Images of Ottoman Sovereignty 7. The Display of Sovereign Prerogative 8. The Politics of Diplomacy 9. The Exercise of Political Power Conclusion: Women, Sovereignty, and Society Appendix: Genealogical Charts Notes Bibliography Index

About the Author

Leslie P. Peirce is Professor of History and Near Eastern Studies, University of California, Berkeley.


"The harem described in Leslie P. Peirce's fascinating book is not the lascivious sexual playground conceived by the Western imagination but the locus of power in the Ottoman empire....The general thesis of this outstanding book--that the power wielded by the women of the imperial harem was real, and that it stood in an organic relation to broader Ottoman political traditions and practice--will be widely accepted."--American Historical Review "Peirce's work effectively reinforces recent work on the post-Suleymanic period, while at the same time revising scholarship about the imperial harem and the dynastic family. In doing so, her book is a significant contribution to the field."--The Historian "The Imperial Harem is the definitive book on its subject. While it is excellent reading for students of women's studies, it is an important contribution to Ottoman history as well."--MESA Bulletin "A tour de force. Peirce has brought her detailed knowledge of Ottoman harem politics to revise a fundamental question of Ottoman historiography: how did the dynasty adjust to the transformation of imperial ideology necessary in light of the regime's change from aggressive expansion to stasis."--Carl F. Petry, Northwestern University "This is an excellent book, and a new departure in women's history within the Islamic field. Peirce discusses women not as a class apart, not as part of dynastic politics in the Ottoman Empire, thus shedding new light on political processes, and showing women to be an integral part of the dynasty."--Beatrice Manz, Tufts University "[A] monumental study....Peirce's facility in traversing boundaries between the East and the West is striking....[an] invaluable feminist study...of interest to students and scholars of history, politics, and sociology as well as any feminist."--Signs

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