A critical reading of the Ottoman-Turkish hamam as a queered space

Pasin, Burkay
This dissertation analyzes the Ottoman-Turkish hamam as a queered space. I follow a combined research methodology in which oral history is the primary method of gathering knowledge, while literature review, questionnaire survey and case analyses are supplementary. In Chapter 3, I argue that in architectural history writing, the hamam is constructed as a desexualized archetype, while in art history, popular literature and media it is reduced to a sexual stereotype. In Chapter 4, I analyze how the hamam works as part of urban queer culture in Turkey for the past 40 years. The oral history interviews provides first-hand data regarding the spatial practices, sexual performances and experiences of the interviewees in particular queered hamams. In-depth analyses of these interviews show that there are similarities and differences between practices, performances and experiences of the users, which contribute to their identity constructions. I analyze these similarities and differences within a tripartite conceptual framework, in Chapters 5, 6 and 7 consecutively, each of which has been theorized as a particular spatiality: an urban closet, a performance stage, and a homosocial space. In Chapter 8, I conclude that the Ottoman-Turkish hamam is a complex problem field which can be read through three dualities: the traditional and the modern, the representational and the real, the commodified and the social.