• First Language: Turkish

  • Subjects:  Women’s Studies

  • Journal Section: Research Article

  • Authors: D Burcu EĞİLMEZ
    independent Researcher

  • Dates: 1 June 2017

In this paper I investigate whether a thematic analysis of twenty-seven classical Karagöz Black Eye texts—an important representative of traditional Ottoman-Turkish drama—can provide us with the clues toward a better understanding of marriage, family and gender relations in the nineteenth and early twentieth century Ottoman İstanbul. In this respect, I discuss the following ideas as the prevailing themes of the plays: woman being an “imperfect man,” the burden of morality falling particularly on the shoulders of married women, and the consensus regarding the traditional sexual division of labor within the family. I then trace the contours of everyday gender relations through an examination of those relations between couples, married women, and parents and children in terms of the categories of class, equality/inequality, morality and language. I claim that these plays display the variations of care of the household, of its members and of the self , the emotional and the sexual dimensions of marriage, and reflections of the attempts at modernization in the Empire on the families and marriages of different classes. Finally, they enable us to understand better the tactics employed by married women to create spaces in which to negotiate the traditional norms of gender roles without transforming them.

Karagöz, marriage, family, gender, nineteenth century, twentieth century, Ottoman, İstanbul

independent Researcher