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3. Working from Home: Division of Labor among Female Workers of Feshane in Late Nineteenth-Century Istanbul

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Chapter Summary

Fez production in late nineteenth-century Istanbul involved women laborers from the different ethnic communities of the Ottoman Empire. Based on the wage ledgers of the state fez factory, this chapter focuses on the female fez knitters working for this institution. The chapter attempts to reach conclusions on gender and the ethnic division of labor in the late Ottoman industrial workforce. After giving brief information on fez production in general and at the Feshane in particular, the chapter assess the role of knitters' ethno-religious characteristics in finding jobs and earning wages. It states that along with a gender-based division of labor, where the potential female workers of Feshane were concerned, being a Muslim was a strong barrier against engagement in an urban putting-out activity. On the other hand being a Muslim was seemingly more advantageous for male workers than being an Orthodox-Christian.

Keywords:female workers; Feshane; fez production; Nineteenth-century Istanbul; Ottoman Empire



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