Changes in legal-sexual discourses: Sex crimes in the Ottoman empire

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Abstract

Through an examination of sixteenth-century Ottoman criminal codes pertaining to sexual crimes and their punishment, the article builds on the work of others who have attempted to streamline Islamic legal discourse and new legislation, mainly in the era of Süleyman the Magnificent. An emerging governing elite, recruited through slavery and attached to the sultan's household through marriage and patronage, attempted to create a legal system that, while committed to the tenets of Islamic law, promoted the new values of a dynamic group of people, which differed in many ways from those envisaged by the sharī'a. The new legal codes suggest a change in discourse and outlook regarding various aspects of sexuality, gender differences, and concepts of crime and punishment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-242
Number of pages24
JournalContinuity and Change
Volume16
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2001

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