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Women and Slavery in the Late Ottoman Empire: The Design of Difference

Professor Zilfi, a well-established, leading historian of the Ottoman Empire, has joined the small but constantly growing group of scholars interested in the study of Ottoman enslavement. Her current book is a most welcome addition to the second wave of studies devoted to the complex history of the practice, which is one of the most diverse and multi-faceted phenomena in the annals of human societies. While Zilfi clearly contributes to the discourse about the topic, she—refreshingly—does not pretend to reinvent the wheel, but rather treats the works of her predecessors with respect, fully engaging with their studies and demonstrating remarkable understanding of the intricacies they sought to explain in an area that had been uncharted territory.

 

Professor Zilfi, a well-established, leading historian of the Ottoman Empire, has joined the small but constantly growing group of scholars interested in the study of Ottoman enslavement. Her current book is a most welcome addition to the second wave of studies devoted to the complex history of the practice, which is one of the most diverse and multi-faceted phenomena in the annals of human societies. While Zilfi clearly contributes to the discourse about the topic, she—refreshingly—does not pretend to reinvent the wheel, but rather treats the works of her predecessors with respect, fully engaging with their studies and demonstrating remarkable understanding of the intricacies they sought to explain in an area that had been uncharted territory.

The first wave of such studies began in the late 1970s and early 1980s, following the pioneering work of scholars like Brunschvig and Lewis, while the second came during the first decade of the twenty first century.

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