Seduction, Resistance, and Redemption: “Turning Turk” and the Embodiment of Christian Faith

Jane Hwang Degenhardt

in Islamic Conversion and Christian Resistance on the Early Modern Stage

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print August 2010 | ISBN: 9780748640843
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748651597 | DOI:
Seduction, Resistance, and Redemption: “Turning Turk” and the Embodiment of Christian Faith

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This introductory chapter discusses the influence of the Ottoman Empire in the everyday lives of English Christians. It looks at the conversion to Islam, which is believed to transform a person's earthly identity and damn the soul, and also served as easier access to monetary wealth and sexual pleasures. It studies how the stage capitalized on the visceral appeal of physical resistance and forced conversions, and reveals how the threat of conversion was framed by a culture of domestic religious unrest. It discusses the historical backdrop of increased English awareness of the Ottoman Empire and tries to determine if race is a valid category for talking about Muslim Turks in early modern England. The chapter also shows how sexual seduction functions as an important vehicle for connecting conversion to racial logic, Christian resistance, narrative models, tangible religious models on the stage and religious unrest.

Keywords: Ottoman Empire; conversion; stage; race; sexual seduction; Christian resistance; narrative models; religious unrest; religious models

Chapter.  12779 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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