Children and Childhood in the Ottoman Empire

From the 15th to the 20th Century

Edited by Gülay Yilmaz, Fruma Zachs

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Explores 5 centuries of changing attitudes toward children and childhood in the Ottoman Empire

  • Includes data on Christian, Jewish and Muslim children that shed light on differences and commonalities in family structures and communities
  • Covers a broad geographic area including Ottoman Romania, Bulgaria, Crimea, Greece, Bosnia, Syria, Palestine and Istanbul
  • Paves the way for new directions in research on the history of children and childhood in the Ottoman Empire
  • Features a Foreword by Suraiya Faroqhi, an introductory chapter by Colin Heywood, and includes 8 tables, 8 graphs, 9 illustrations and a glossary of key terms

How did adults, religious institutions and the state view children during the Ottoman Empire? This volume gathers specialists in the social history of the Ottoman Empire as a whole – in regions ranging from Anatolia through the Arab provinces to the Balkans, and from the 15th to the early 20th century – to respond to recent theoretical calls to recognise children as active agents in history.

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Foreword
Suraiya Faroqhi

Introduction
Gülay Yılmaz and Fruma Zachs

1. Ottoman Childhoods in Comparative Perspective
Colin Heywood

Part I: Concepts of Childhood

2. Childhood in the Peasant Militia Registers and the Age Boundaries of Adolescence
Cahit Telci

3. An Ottoman Boyhood: Child Life in the Late Eighteenth Century through the Lens of Panayis Skouzes’ Autobiography
Eleni Gara

Part II: Family Interrelationships

4. Preliminary Observations on the Demographic Roots of Modern Childhood in the Ottoman Empire: Wealth, Children and Status in Ruse, Vidin and Sofia, 1670–1855
İrfan Kokdaş

5. The Emotional Bond between Early Modern Ottoman Children and Parents: A Case Study of Sünbülzade's ‘Ideal’ Child (1700–1800)
Leyla Kayhan Elbirlik

6. A World of Conflicts: Youth and Violence towards Parents in the Family in Rural Wallachia, 1716–1859
Nicoleta Roman

Part III: Children Outside Family Circles

7. Born and Bred in Seventeenth-Century Crimea: Child Slavery, Social Reality and Cultural Identity
Fırat Yaşa

8. Rural Girls as Domestic Servants in Late Ottoman Istanbul
Yahya Araz

9. Muslim Orphans and the Shari‘ah in Nineteenth Century Palestine: Cases from Nablus
Mahmud Yazbak

Part IV: Children’s Bodies

10. Body Politics and Devşirmes in the Early Modern Ottoman Empire: The Conscripted Children of Herzegovina
Gülay Yılmaz

11. Pastimes for Child Breadwinners: The Sanitisation and Recreation Facilities of the Hereke Factory Campus
Didem Yavuz Velipaşaoğlu

12. Beating is Heaven-Sent: Corporal Punishment of Children in the late Ottoman and Early Republican Era
Nazan Çiçek

Part V: Children and Education

13. Childhood and Education in Ottoman Bosnia during the Early Modern Period (mid-Fifteenth to Late Eighteenth Century)
Elma Korić

14. Children’s Education in Ottoman Jewish Society (Sixteenth to Eighteenth Centuries)
Ruth Lamdan

15. Women as Educators towards the End of the Nahda Period: Labiba Hashim and Children’s Upbringing
Fruma Zachs

Glossary
List of Contributors
Index

Gülay Yılmaz and Fruma Zachs’s edited volume is a welcome contribution to the field of history of children and youth in the Ottoman Empire [...] The prominence of the early modern era (with nine chapters) in the volume’s chronological focus is worth stressing, as the research on Ottoman children to date has been confined mostly to the nineteenth century. By the same token, wide geographic coverage of the book, going beyond the Balkans and Anatolia to Wallachia, Crimea, Palestine, and Egypt, has the added value of facilitating comparisons.

Nazan Maksudyan, Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth

This volume will encourage young scholars to develop projects in the area of Ottoman and MENA childhood. The choice of themes for the five sections is well-thought-out and marks for future contributions the contours of the field. The involvement of young scholars (young PhDs mostly) alongside more established ones is an excellent recipe for pushing ahead the study of this all-important sub-field of socio-cultural history.

Ehud R. Toledano, Professor of Middle East History, Tel Aviv University

Gülay Yılmaz and Fruma Zachs’s edited volume is a welcome contribution to the field of history of children and youth in the Ottoman Empire [...] The prominence of the early modern era (with nine chapters) in the volume’s chronological focus is worth stressing, as the research on Ottoman children to date has been confined mostly to the nineteenth century. By the same token, wide geographic coverage of the book, going beyond the Balkans and Anatolia to Wallachia, Crimea, Palestine, and Egypt, has the added value of facilitating comparisons.

Nazan Maksudyan, The Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth
Gülay Yilmaz is Associate Professor at Akdeniz University. She is author of articles in The Journal of Ottoman Studies, Belleten and Studies of the Ottoman Domain and of chapters in Bread from the Lion’s Mouth: Artisans Struggling for a Livelihood in Ottoman Cities (Berghahn Books, 2015) and Children in Slavery Through the Ages (Ohio University Press, 2009).

Fruma Zachs is a Professor at the University of Haifa. She is author of The Making of a Syrian Identity: Intellectuals and Merchants in 19th-Century Beirut (Brill, 2005), co-author of Gendering Culture in Greater Syria: Intellectuals and Ideology in the Late Ottoman Period (I.B. Tauris, 2015) and co-editor of Ottoman Reform and Muslim Regeneration: Studies in Honour of Prof. Butrus Abu-Manneh (I.B. Tauris, 2005).

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