Foreign Languages & Literatures ETDs

Publication Date



In numerous articles and texts published within the arenas of Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies, much has been written on the trope of the shared bath-and even more specifically the hammam-as a space of orientalism. Although researchers such as Magreban sociologist Fatima Mernissi, Algerian writer Malek Alloula, and film scholars Serena Anderlini-DOnofrio and Elisabetta Girelli have offered images of le bain turc in expository texts, art and media, and films as those which offer 'Turkish Dreams' of orientalist fantasy, this paper focuses on the space as a loci of performative strategies and tactical moves, which abet social resistance. I argue that one can posit the hammam, and acts of shared bathing in two expository texts, a film and a novella as riposte: Le bain turc is as a pool of resistive, not passive, odalisques. In this work I draw on Victor Turner's theories of Social Drama, and Michel de Certeau's concepts of strategies and tactics. My intervention is that, despite often seeming orientalist, these baths also act as social spaces of politically reactive liminoid acts: 'playful' insurgency. Female participants use 'tactical bathing' to rebut patriarchal pressure and oppression, creatively.


tactical bathing, Michel de Certeau, Victor Turner, Ferzan Özpetek, liminal, liminoid, Leila Sebbar, Fatima Mernissi

Document Type




Degree Name

Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies

Level of Degree


Department Name

Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures

First Committee Member (Chair)

Schröter, Katrin

Second Committee Member

Brau, Lorie