This examination of Tunisia’s ruling family between 1700 and 1900 reveals the significance of the palace and the crucial political and economic roles women played in the family’s relationship with the imperial government.
In this first in-depth study of the ruling family of Tunisia in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Kallander investigates the palace as a site of familial and political significance. Through extensive archival research, she elucidates the domestic economy of the palace as well as the changing relationship between the ruling family of Tunis and the government, thus revealing how the private space of the palace mirrored the public political space.
“Instead of viewing the period as merely a precursor to colonial occupation and the nation-state as emphasized in precolonial or nationalist histories, this narrative moves away from images of stagnation and dependency to insist upon dynamism,” Kallander explains. She delves deep into palace dynamics, comparing them to those of monarchies outside of the Ottoman Empire to find persuasive evidence of a global modernity. She demonstrates how upper-class Muslim women were active political players, exerting their power through displays of wealth such as consumerism and philanthropy. Ultimately, she creates a rich view of the Husaynid dynastic culture that will surprise many, and stimulate debate and further research among scholars of Ottoman Tunisia.
List of Illustrations
Note on Transliteration
Part I. Family Foundations of Ottoman Rule
Introduction. Families, Households, and Palace Women in Early Modern Court Culture
Chapter 1. Family and the Politics of Marriage: The Early Ottoman Era in Tunis (1574–1756)
Part II. Family and Provincial Government, 1756–1840
Chapter 2. The Prosperous Palace
Chapter 3. Women's Worlds
Chapter 4. Beyond Bardo
Part III. Nineteenth century Transformations
Chapter 5. The Constitution, Financial Reform, and the Modern Family
Chapter 6. Inventing Dynastic Traditions: Family Politics of French Colonialism
Appendix 1. Genealogies
Appendix 2. Annual Expense Registers of the Palace Treasury
Appendix 3. Income and Expenditures of the Bey
“[Kallander] deftly demonstrates that females of the household fit closely and naturally into practices that cemented Husaynid legitimacy. In a word, women, their public work and family relationships were integral to the longevity of Husaynid government.”
International Journal of Islamic Architecture