The Ottoman Erotic

Episode 289

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What terms and ideas were considered erotic in early modern Ottoman literature, and what can studying them tell us about later historical periods and our own conceptions of the beauty, love, and desire? In this episode, we welcome İrvin Cemil Schick back to the podcast to discuss a project he is compiling with İpek Hüner-Cora and Helga Anetshofer: a dictionary called the "Erotic Vocabulary of Ottoman Literature."

Release Date: 18 December 2016

This episode is part of a series entitled "Women, Gender, and Sex in the Ottoman World."

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Contributor Bios

İrvin Cemil Schick holds a PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has taught inter alia at Harvard University, MIT, and İstanbul Şehir University. He is the author of The Erotic Margin: Sexuality and Spatiality in Alteritist Discourse (1999), The Fair Circassian: Adventures of an Orientalist Motif (in Turkish, 2004), and Writing the Body, Society, and the Universe: On Islam, Gender, and Culture (in Turkish, 2011). His current research interests include the Islamic arts of the book; gender, sexuality, and the body in Islam; and animals and the environment in Islam.
Susanna Ferguson is a Ph.D. Candidate in Middle Eastern History at Columbia University. She is currently working on a dissertation entitled "Tracing Tarbiya: Women, Gender and Childrearing in Egypt and Lebanon, 1865-1939."  
Matthew Ghazarian is a Ph.D. student in Columbia University's Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, African Studies. His research focuses on the intersections of sectarianism, humanitarianism, and political economy in central and eastern Anatolia between 1856 and 1893.

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Sex, Love, and Worship in Classical Ottoman Texts
Liat Kozma #196
Sexology in Hebrew and Arabic
Aurélie Perrier #188
Illicit Sex in Ottoman and French Algeria


Episode No. 289
Release Date: 18 December 2016
Recording Location: Istanbul
Editing and production by Chris Gratien
Sound excerpts: from - Baglamamin Dugumu - Necmiye Ararat and MuzafferIstanbul'dan Ayva Gelir Nar Gelir - Azize Tozem and Sari RecepHarmandali - Recep Efendi, Cemal Efendi
Images and bibliography courtesy of İrvin Cemil Schick


The images below are excerpted from a manuscript of Hamse-i Atâi from the Digital Walters collection.


Selections from the Ottoman translation of Rucû‘ü’ş-şeyh ilâ sabah.,688

Anetshofer, Helga, İpek Hüner Cora, and İrvin Cemil Schick, “Cinsel İçerikli bir Osmanlı Kıyâfetnâmesi: Ta‘rîfnâme-i Zenâne,” Toplumsal Tarih 270 (June 2016), 28–37. 

Artan, Tülay and İrvin Cemil Schick, “Ottomanizing Pornotopia: Changing Visual Codes in Eighteenth-Century Ottoman Erotic Miniatures,” in Eros and Sexuality in Islamic Art, ed. Francesca Leoni and Mika Natif. (London: Ashgate, 2013), 157–207. 

Kuru, Selim S., “Sex in the Text: Deli Birader’s Dâfi‘ü ’l-gumûm ve Râfi‘ü ’l-humûm and the Ottoman Literary Canon,” Middle Eastern Literatures, 10, 2 (August 2007), 157–174. 

Kuru, Selim S., “Biçimin Kıskacında bir ‘Tarih-i Nev-İcad’: Enderunlu Fazıl Bey ve Defter-i Aşk Adlı Mesnevisi,” in Şinasi Tekin’in Anısına: Uygurlardan Osmanlıya, ed. Günay Kut and Fatma Büyükkarcı Yılmaz (İstanbul: Simurg, 2005), 476–506.

Najmabadi, Afsaneh, Women with Mustaches and Men without Beards: Gender and Sexual Anxieties of Iranian Modernity (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005).

Schick, İrvin Cemil, “Representation of Gender and Sexuality in Ottoman and Turkish Erotic Literature,” Turkish Studies Association Journal 28, 1–2 (2004 [2008]), 81–103. 

Ze’evi, Dror, Producing Desire: Changing Sexual Discourse in the Ottoman Middle East, 1500-1900 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006).


Unknown said…
Thank you so much for this episode! I really enjoyed it, it was an excellent conversation.
mexylo said…
I enjoy all your conversations and learn a lot of things. Thank you very much and keep on with the good work!

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