Age, gender and slavery in and out of the Persian harem: a different story

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • H Afshar


Publication details

DatePublished - Sep 2000
Issue number5
Number of pages12
Pages (from-to)905-916
Original languageEnglish


Despite the ever-growing literature on slavery and that of oppression of women in the harem and the expanding material on memories and autobiographies, it is difficult to find room to valorize experiences of those women who do not use writing as a medium of communication. Recollected memories of life histories of women are still hard to contextualize within mainstream feminist epistemology. It is the contention of this article that academic universal categories, formulated by Anglophone Western theorists, do not help to explain the lived experiences of most women the world over. Drawing on subjective experiences of one woman and autobiographical memories of the author, this article will argue that well-known categories such as "black" and "slave girl" fail to explain the remembered life of one "black" "harem slave girl", who felt empowered by her harem years.

    Research areas

  • empowerment, feminist biographies, harem, life stories, memories, orientalism

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