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Renegade Women This book uses the stories of early modern women in the Mediterranean who left their birthplaces families and religions to reveal the complex space women of the period occupied socially and politicallyIn the narrow sense the word renegade as used in the early modern Mediterranean referred to a Christian who had abandoned his or her religion to become a Muslim With Renegade Women Eric R Dursteler deftly redefines and broadens the term to include anyone who crossed the era’s and region’s religious political social and gender boundaries Drawing on archival research he relates three tales of women whose lives afford great insight into both the specific experiences and condition of females in and the broader cultural and societal practices and s of the early MediterraneanThrough Beatrice Michiel of Venice who fled an overbearing husband to join her renegade brother in Constantinople and took the name Fatima Hatun Dursteler discusses how women could convert and relocate in order to raise their personal and familial status In the parallel tales of the Christian Elena Civalelli and the Muslim Mihale Šatorovic who both entered a Venetian convent to avoid unwanted arranged marriages he finds courageous young women who used the frontier between Ottoman and Venetian states to exercise a surprising degree of agency over their lives And in the actions of four Muslim women of the Greek island of Milos—Aissè her sisters Eminè and Catigè and their mother Maria—who together left their home for Corfu and converted from Islam to Christianity to escape Aissè’s emotionally and financially neglectful husband Dursteler unveils how a woman’s attempt to control her own life ignited an international firestorm that threatened Venetian Ottoman relationsA truly fascinating narrative of female instrumentality Renegade Women illuminates the nexus of identity and conversion in the early modern Mediterranean through global and local lenses Scholars of the period will find this to be a richly informative and thoroughly engrossing read

10 thoughts on “Renegade Women

  1. Jenifer Jenifer says:

    February book club feat The Author We had a great book club discussion about this month's selection and I am just honored to be able to talk about books with women who are intelligent fair minded and open to looking at the world in different ways Mr Dursteler was engaging and very easy to relate to sharing his considerable knowledge with us while showing a great interest in our opinions and ideas One of my favorite parts was hearing him tell about the cover art which I find beautiful and intriguing As a book club pick in general I think this is a little bit highbrow but then it wasn't written for book club As text for a history class I would give it five stars 4 for being better than most textbooks and 1 for being short Too bad I'm not a student Can I get extra credit anyway?My imagination was sparked by the idea of these brave passionate women making choices for themselves that went against the s and traditions of their cultures They were willing to use whatever means were available to them specifically religion and religious laws and customs to change the trajectories of their lives They truly lived outside their comfort zone With the backdrop of the Mediterranean landscape how could this not make a fascinating and beautiful historical novel?

  2. Jeanette Jeanette says:

    This is not a book you would want to grab at the library for a uick read This is a scholarly look at women of the Mediterranean who followed their own path and not one their father or husband had planned for them For a history book I found this rather easy to read and I particularly enjoyed the story of Catterina whose father finally realized how happy she was with the life she chose and decided to support her decision to stay in the convent I have to admit I would never have picked up this book were it not a selection for my book club For people studying the Mediterranean in the 15 and 1600's I think this would be a great addition to their studies I got a bit bogged down at times with the names there were many to keep track of and they changed their names and some of the history but that is mostly because I am not very familiar with this time period in the Mediterranean

  3. Becky Becky says:

    excellent reuired reading for my Mediterranean Encounters class at Muhlenberg College Follows true stories of women in the era

  4. Kimberly Kimberly says:

    This was a challenging read and I really debated 3 or 4 stars In the end I went with 4 because I try to rank each book within its own genre This is a college textbook and for that genre this is a great read I was fascinated with the 3 women from the 1600's whose lives have been recorded in such detail It was so interesting to see the actions they took so that they could be in charge of their own destinies They had the determination to avoid or to get out of bad marriages and change their own lives It was such a wonderful experience to have the author come to our book club and talk through how he researched and found these women It is amazing to me that he was able to find out so much about these women in that time period On one hand I think it would be amazing to get to explore the depths of some of the old libraries of Italy but what a daunting task to try and piece together someone's life from tidbits here and there among such a vast amount of material in a time before indexing In the end I am really glad that people like Eric are willing to dig so that I can enjoy seeing a slice into the women of the past

  5. Tracy Tracy says:

    Book Club February 2012 The author came to our meeting Two things about this book the book itself and our book club meetingFirst the book This book opened a window into a time period and geographical area I knew nothing about had never thought about It is scholarly and I am not a scholar But it sparked my imagination and created tons of ideas and uestions in my mind I love that in a book and that's one of the reasons I read Students who are assigned this book in a class are going to really enjoy it The art work is a great asset and the maps are very helpful The renegade's stories were uniue and memorable to me Second book club Best ever The author was fantastic and we had a delightful time asking uestions and hearing his stories Adventures in the archives academia travel ahhh So interesting Thanks to the Book Club ladies for your adventurous personalities that created such an absorbing discussion and thanks to the author for educating and entertaining us

  6. Elizabeth Elizabeth says:

    I had to read this book for my French women studies class and compared to the other assigned readings this was by far the easiest I gained a lot of insight on the differences between Muslim and Christian cultures during the early modern period I also learned how each culture liberated while also limiting women This book was really interesting and I think the stories of Elena Civalelli and Mihale Satorovic touched me the most and truly speak upon the representation of a renegade woman

  7. Courtney Courtney says:

    I probably would have not read this book if weren't for our book club but I am glad I did It is a non fiction historical that takes place on the Mediterranean in the 1600's For it being non fiction historical all written from old documents it is an engaging story and I enjoyed learning about woman during that era in that particular part of the world

  8. Nyssa Silvester Nyssa Silvester says:

    I wish there was to this book because by the end I was fascinated Dursteler did some meticulous research and presented three stories of women at the locus of politics religion and gender relations Makes me want to learn about the Mediterranean

  9. Shane Shane says:

    These are great stories they leave you wanting to know Great bit of sleuthing by the author to piece together the events of the lives of these remarkable women

  10. Gina Gifford Gina Gifford says:

    I am generally a novel type reader so this was a bit different for me I did like the stories and found it very interesting I loved the description of the area and people

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