Please join the Transnational Gender and Sexuality Studies RIW for a dissertation chapter workshop on Tuesday April 16th, from 12-1:30pm at the Comparative Literature Library (Tisch 2021C). We will be discussing Tuğçe Kayaal’s (UM, Middle East Studies) chapter titled ““Boy Lovers” and Cross-Generational Sexual Practices in the Late Ottoman Empire (1913-23).” Please see below the abstract for Tuğçe’s chapter.
TGSS welcomes all graduate students, faculty and staff who are interested in transnational gender and sexuality studies in any discipline or geographic region.
Lunch will be provided. Please RSVP to Duygu Ula (dula) or Sahin Acikgoz (sahin) with any dietary restrictions and to receive a copy of the chapter.
“Boy Lovers” and Cross-Generational Sexual Practices in the Late Ottoman Empire (1913-23)
This chapter explores the condemnation of cross-generational sexual practices in the late Ottoman Empire through a sexual abuse case occurred in Konya Öksüz Yurdu [House of Orphans] during World War I. Based on the discursive analysis of the testimonies of children from the House of Orphans, wartime magazines, and advice literature on youth sexuality, this chapter argues that in the ideological landscape of the wartime empire, which was built on a patriarchal sex/gender system based on the norms of heterosexual sex, Ottoman boys were imagined as de-sexualized and innocent subjects who were under the protection and training of their parents. However, war orphans and the presence of their unsupervised bodies constituted a moral threat as both the objects and subjects of “perverse” sexual desires. Moreover, in the late Ottoman Empire’s political and literary discourses, cross-generational sexual practice between an adult man and an adolescent boy was condemned and labeled as an indicator of the penetrator’s morally weak character. Hence, as the police record on the case occurred in the House of Orphans showcase, any sexual encounter between an adult man and a boy was a more substantial threat to the social order than the act of rape.