This talk will examine episodes of gendered violence against Armenian women in the late Ottoman Empire and seeks to contextualize them within the imperial and international contestations and struggles over the status and equality of Ottoman Armenians. The legal status and communal administration of non-Muslims had been integral and controversial components of Ottoman reform since the middle of the nineteenth century. As traditional confessional hierarchies, which privileged Sunni Muslims in politics, tax collection and law, came under domestic and international scrutiny, interconfessional tensions mounted. Toygun Altıntaş’ study focuses on the last decades of the nineteenth century when the Ottoman state turned a blind eye to increasing numbers of abductions and forced conversions of Armenian women and children. As the Ottoman authorities militarized their surveillance and policing of Armenian dissent, some Armenian women also faced sexual violence at the hands of Ottoman soldiers and gendarmes. In many instances, the women played a key role in mobilizing their communities, securing international intervention and/or organizing protests against the Ottoman state’s discriminatory policies. Toygun Altıntaş’ research explores these processes, which were as integral to struggles over equality and supremacism in the late Ottoman period as disputes over land and taxation.
Toygun Altıntaş is a EUME Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. He works on the social and political history of minoritization, supremacism, and inequality in the late Ottoman Empire. He received his PhD (2018) in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from the University of Chicago. He taught courses on Middle Eastern history and Ottoman language and paleography at Bilgi and Boğaziçi Universities (2018–20). He published articles in the Journal of the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association and in the edited volume To Kill a Sultan: A Transnational History of the Attempt on Abdülhamid II (1905) (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018).
In accordance with the measures against the spread of the coronavirus, this seminar session will be held virtually via ZOOM. Please register in advance via eume(at)trafo-berlin.de to receive the login details. Depending on approval by the speakers, the Berliner Seminar will be recorded. All audio recordings of the Berliner Seminar are available via the account of the Forum Transregionale Studien on SoundCloud.