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Race and Slavery in the Middle EastHistories of Trans-Saharan Africans in 19th-Century Egypt, Sudan, and
the Ottoman Mediterranean$
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Terence Walz and Kenneth M. Cuno

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9789774163982

Published to Cairo Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5743/cairo/9789774163982.001.0001

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Magic, Theft, and Arson

Magic, Theft, and Arson

The Life and Death of an Enslaved African Woman in Ottoman İzmit

Chapter:
(p.125) 5 Magic, Theft, and Arson
Source:
Race and Slavery in the Middle East
Author(s):

Terence Walz

Kenneth M. Cuno

Publisher:
American University in Cairo Press
DOI:10.5743/cairo/9789774163982.003.0006

Studies on Ottoman-Middle Eastern slavery are still in a toddling stage and accounts written from the perspective of slaves are few and far between. Even petitions bearing the names of individual slaves were written by professional scribes or persons who were knowledgeable enough about the chancery styles of governments. In other words, most were “mediated” documents. There is no alternative but to inhabit the discipline, delve into archives, and push at the limits of historical knowledge to turn its contradictions, ambivalences, and gaps into grounds for its rewriting. Historians, unlike other social scientists, need to be trained in dead languages and difficult calligraphies, and may simply or inadvertently err in their task of interpretation regardless of the methods they employ, especially when they attempt to voice the voiceless.

Keywords:   petitions, mediated, ambivalences, calligraphies, historians

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