Beneath the Mustache: A Well-Trimmed History of Facial Hair in the Late Ottoman Era

in Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient
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Abstract

Based on quantitative and qualitative analysis of visual representations and written texts, this study argues that officers, civil officials, and urban professionals who came of age in the late Hamidian era adopted the mustache as an expression of a generational identification and a related self-consciously modern masculinity that defined itself against the bearded, Hamidian order. After 1908, when the instigators of the revolution and their supporters climbed up the social and political hierarchies, the mustache rose with them and became the facial ornament of the most powerful people in the empire. Considering the common association of the mustache with youth, its adoption as a marker of identification hints at the unsettling of longtime ageist hierarchies but also, at the durability and adaptability of gender ones.

Beneath the Mustache: A Well-Trimmed History of Facial Hair in the Late Ottoman Era

in Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient

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References

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Figures

  • View in gallery
    Studio portraits published in Servet-i Fünun. From the upper left, clockwise: Emin Paşa, Celal Bey, Şükrü Paşa and Ali Nusret Bey. See respectively no. 365 (26 Şubat 1313): p. 4; no. 358 (8 Kanun-i Sani 1313): p. 309; no. 1133 (7 Şubat 1328): p. 344.
  • View in gallery
    The Bearded Order: Sultan Abdülhamid ii.
  • View in gallery
    “Our alla turca fashion:” Ahmed Midhat and his beard.
  • View in gallery
    Mustached, alla franga: Bihruz Bey, the protagonist of Carriage Passion (Araba Sevdası). From Servet-i Fünun, no. 260 (2 Şubat 1311), p. 412.
  • View in gallery
    A batch of mustaches: students in the School of Civil Service (Mektep-i Mülkiye), 1880s or early 1890s.
  • View in gallery
    Mustached Young Turks in exile. From Ali Fahri, Emel Yolunda (Istanbul: Müşterekü’l-menfaa Osmanlı Şirketi Matbaası, 1328 (1912)), p. 320.
  • View in gallery
    An assortment of mustaches. From the upper left, clockwise: Hussamüddin Paşa, Cemil Paşa, Menemelizade Tahir Bey and Talat Paşa.

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