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Politics of Honor in Ottoman Anatolia

Sexual Violence and Socio-Legal Surveillance in the Eighteenth Century

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Başak Tuğ

In Politics of Honor, Başak Tuğ examines moral and gender order through the glance of legal litigations and petitions in mid-eighteenth century Anatolia. By juxtaposing the Anatolian petitionary registers, subjects’ petitions, and Ankara and Bursa court records, she analyzes the institutional framework of legal scrutiny of sexual order. Through a revisionist interpretation, Tuğ demonstrates that a more bureaucratized system of petitioning, a farther hierarchically organized judicial review mechanism, and a more centrally organized penal system of the mid-eighteenth century reinforced the existing mechanisms of social surveillance by the community and the co-existing “discretionary authority” of the Ottoman state over sexual crimes to overcome imperial anxieties about provincial “disorder”.