Monday, April 3, 2017

Aykut on Poisoning in Ottoman legal history

Ebru Aykut, Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University published an article on poisoning in Ottoman legal history back in 2016. Here is the abstract for her article, "Toxic Murder, Female Poisoners, and the Question of Agency at the Late Ottoman Law Courts, 1840-1908," Journal of Women's History 28:3 (fall 2016), 114-37:
This article aims to fill a void in the history of Ottoman Empire by examining the role gender played at the nineteenth-century Ottoman courts, which becomes visible only through a close scrutiny of nizamiye court records pertaining to female criminals, more specifically to women who stood trial for poisoning their husbands. So far, in the Ottoman history writing, violent female criminality has rarely attracted the attention of scholars, while female poisoners have only come to the fore in the context of imperial harem narratives. In this article, I focus on the voices of “ordinary” actors involved in such a crime and draw attention to the complex reasons that led women to kill in this particular way as well as the gender-based solidarity networks among women, the defensive strategies employed at the court, and judicial perceptions about female criminals, which regarded women as incompetent agents—nâkısat-ülakl—and denied them agency.
For more on Ebru Aykut's work, here is a Dissertation Review on her dissertation, "Alternative Claims on Justice and Law: Rural Arson and Poison Murder in the 19th Century Ottoman Empire" (Boğaziçi University, 2011).