Natalie Zemon Davis Annual Lecture Series: Aspects of Captivity in the World of the Ottomans III. A Captive Queen
Aspects of captivity in the world of the Ottomans
All students of the Ottomans are familiar with the work of the captives and slaves without whose labor the empire could not have attained and maintained its strength in early modern times. These lectures look at captives and their captors across a broad spectrum, from the elite slaves who sustained the dynastic family to petty brigands and their victims to domestic servants owned by the empire’s subjects. They ask what captors were looking for and what it was about the Ottoman environment of the 16th and 17th centuries that offered some captives opportunity to improve the conditions of their bondage. These lectures are indebted to Natalie Zemon Davis in many ways, and they feature trickster and non-trickster captive converts, women on top, and fiction in the Ottoman archives.
Leslie Peirce became interested in the Ottoman empire when she joined the Peace Corps in Turkey after graduating from Harvard in 1964. After careers as a teacher of English as a foreign language and psychometrician (test-writer) at Educational Testing Service, she received her PhD. from Princeton in 1988. Before joining New York University as Silver Professor of Ottoman and Middle Eastern history, Peirce taught at Cornell University and UC Berkeley. She is the author of The Imperial Harem: Women and Sovereignty in the Ottoman Empire (1993) and Morality Tales: Law and Gender in the Ottoman Court of Aintab (2003). Both books have been translated into Turkish and both won the Köprülü Prize of the Turkish Studies Association; the second also won the Middle East Studies Association’s Hourani Prize. Peirce has held fellowships from foundations including Guggenheim, the Institute of Advanced Study (Princeton), Fulbright, SSRC, National Endowment of the Humanities, and American Council of Learned Societies. In 2005, she was an invited professor at École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris, and in 2009-2010 she was a senior fellow at Koç University Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations in Istanbul.