18: Ottoman Slave Narratives

Shemsigul was a teenage slave girl in 19th century Cairo. She was supposed to have been sold into one of the most elite harems in the Ottoman Empire. There, she'd have had a chance at social mobility. Instead, she became pregnant by the wrong man, was severely beaten by his wife, and eventually, she testified against them.

In this second installment of The Body Series, we explore the stories of slaves who lived in the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century: the story of Shemsigul; the story of an African eunuch who escaped to freedom; a woman who was kidnapped into slavery, and the stranger who saved her; and an ex-slave who became a prostitute and was murdered in a crime of passion. 

All these slave narratives were found in Ottoman police and court records by our guests, Ehud Toledano and Liat Kozma.

18: Ottoman Slave Narratives

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Ehud Toledano is the Chair of Turkish Studies at Tel Aviv University and the author of several books on slavery in the Ottoman Empire.

Liat Kozma, of Hebrew University, is the author of several publications on Ottoman Slavery and currently pursuing a project on the League of Nations Advisory Committee on the Trafficking of Women and Children.

A list of relevant publications, including the publications of this episode's guests, may be found here


Shoshi Shmuluvitz - Producer, Host, Editor
Ben Silsbee - Executive Producer, Engineer
Ariel Brickman - Intern

Toyotas of War

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