A Critical Reading Of The Ottoman-Turkish Hammam As A Representational Space Of Sexuality

Burkay PASİN


As much as being a physical space of bathing, the Ottoman-Turkish hammam is a representational space which is sexualized through various codes and norms. In this study, based on Lefebvre’s tripartite theoretical framework on production of space, I critically read the hammam as a representational space of sexuality, By means of multiple visual, audio visual sources and research data, I aim to understand how these codes and norms of sexuality are perceived, conceived and experienced in the production of the hammam space. In the first section, I provide comparative analyses of the pictorial representations of the hammam in which it is constructed as a female-only space. In the second section, I analyze how the hammam is re-constructed as a representational space of sexuality through its re-presentation in popular Turkish films as well as its experience in the hotel hammams. Finally, I show how the non-normative spatial practices in the hammam are concealed by means of heterosexual and homoerotic norms of sexuality and gender identity.

Keywords: Ottoman-Turkish hammam, representation, representational space, spatial practice, sexuality

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4305/metu.jfa.2016.2.9


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