Elyse Semerdjian to present “Ottoman History from the Margins” at Fresno State

6 November 2016: the Islamic Studies symposia series I organize will host its first speaker of the year tomorrow evening with Dr. Elyse Semerdjian, who will speak on “Ottoman History from the Margins: Reflections on Women and Dhimmis at Aleppo’s Shari‘a Court” at the Smittcamp Alumni House.

Abstract: “In the Ottoman Empire, relationships of power between Muslims and non-Muslims were regulated by the courts. Using court registers from the Syrian city of Aleppo, Dr. Semerdjian will discuss the ways in which laws policing interactions between Muslims, Christians, and Jews in public spaces were gendered. Examining courtroom proceedings on Syrian bathhouses, brothels, and conversion of Armenians to Islam, Semerdjian argues that the courtroom offered non-dominant groups both obstacles and opportunities to effect power within Ottoman society.

Dr. Semerdjian is Associate Professor of History and Islamic studies at Whitman College. She is the author of Off the Straight Path: Illicit Sex, Law, and Community in Ottoman Aleppo and a specialist on the history of Syria and the Ottoman Empire. This talk is open to the public, and it is offered by the Department of History, the College of Social Sciences, and the Islamic Studies Symposia Series at Fresno State University.

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