Women Behind Bars: Ottoman Carceral Policies and Practices | Gizem Sivri

Wednesday, April 10, 2024, 5:00pm - 6:30pm
Event Sponsor
Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies
Middle Eastern Studies Forum
Encina Commons
615 Crothers Way, Stanford, CA 94305

This talk will concentrate on the history of Ottoman women's imprisonment policies and practices during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It will examine the intricacies surrounding women's incarceration focusing on the contrasting treatment of women prisoners compared to men within Ottoman penal laws and institutions. Drawing archival sources providing concrete data on numerical figures, personal and criminal profiles, and contextual backgrounds of female offenders, this presentation will analyze the significant impact of gendered portrayals in Ottoman penal legislation and punishment policies.

This presentation will illustrate the real experiences of women in both proper and leased carceral facilities by analyzing the methods of control and inspection, living conditions, hygiene standards, and feminized disciplinary practices. Archival illustrations will depict the incorporation of light penal labor in women's wards in penitentiaries, leniency towards motherhood and pregnancy juxtaposed with harsh treatment of prostitutes, and the flexible amnesty and release policies tailored for mother inmates. 

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Dr. Gizem Sivri, a Marie Sklodowska-Curie global postdoctoral fellow in the Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies. She received her BA in History from Istanbul Bilgi University in 2014 and her MA in Modern Turkish History from Boğaziçi University's ATA Institute in 2017. She completed her Ph.D. at Ludwig Maximilians University Munich in 2022. Her dissertation focuses on the late Ottoman women's prisons and women prisoners. Upon her doctoral graduation, she served as a visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley in 2022. Currently, Dr. Sivri conducts her research on women’s criminality in the Ottoman and early republican literature at Stanford University's Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies, collaborating with the BGSMCS at the Free University of Berlin. Her area of expertise lies in the legal, penal, medical, social, and women’s history of the Ottoman Empire.

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