Encyclopedia of Women & Islamic Cultures

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Mental Health: Ottoman Empire
(630 words)

The Ottomans used mental conditions as criteria to marginalize individuals and groups. A deranged person was regarded as the “other,” someone who was different and deviant. The Ottomans employed three different adjectives to describe demented people (both male and female), derived from the three cultural (and linguistic) heritages of the Ottoman Empire: delī (Turkish), divāne (Persian), and majnūn (Arabic). This linguistic reality reflects the imprecise meaning and multitudinous perceptions of madness in Ottoman society. Medical interpretations of ins…

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Shefer, Miri, “Mental Health: Ottoman Empire”, in: Encyclopedia of Women & Islamic Cultures, General Editor Suad Joseph. Consulted online on 22 May 2019 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1872-5309_ewic_EWICCOM_0184f>
First published online: 2009



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