Fortuities of an online search and the complexities of Ottoman feminism

Author: Gülşah Torunoğlu 

4 December 2020

In a less than a week Hülya Adak, Richard Wittmann and I will be holding a virtual workshop on „Mapping Gender in the Near East: What’s New and What’s Ahead in Ottoman and Turkish Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.“ Like many fortunate forms of academic cooperation, the enthusiasm and commitment of several key scholars has resulted in a broader collaborative, international and interdisciplinary academic event, bringing together more than 30 scholars from nine countries, including Turkey, Germany, the United States, the Czech Republic, France, the United Kingdom, Lebanon, Greece, and the Netherlands to exchange their views on gender in the Near East.

Supported by the Istanbul Policy Center, Sabancı University Stiftung Mercator Initiative (IPC Mercator) and organized by the Orient-Institut Istanbul (OII) and Sabancı University Gender and Women’s Studies (SU Gender), the workshop will be held in collaboration with Koç University’s Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations (ANAMED), and the Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul (SRII).

Ironically enough, the idea to organize such a workshop emerged for me after I did an Amazon search for “Ottoman feminism.”

As a search result Amazon suggested this “ottoman” cover (clearly something somewhere went terribly wrong), “doodle style many women”; and getting even worse now: “with ruffle skirt!” All for $49.99 plus free shipping!

Needless to say, I ordered three, one for each room…

Then I started thinking. What did we do wrong? Why did my Amazon search results not immediately refer me to books written in English on Ottoman feminism, but rather to this aesthetically challenging ottoman, a footstool? And why this cover and why the ruffle skirt?

If nothing else, the Amazon search shows that much of the extant scholarship on Ottoman and Turkish women has been published in Turkish, with comparatively little as yet in English. Scholars who have published in English usually concentrate on either the pre-modern Ottoman period or the feminist awakening of the post-1980s. Therefore, there is a century-long lacuna in the history of women’s movements in Turkey, with relatively few works in English examining 1880–1980, and the history of Ottoman and Turkish feminism suffers from a chronological, as well as a methodological gap. We need to bridge this gap in the literature not just by supplementing an incomplete record of the past, but by analyzing how women’s movements affected changes in the ways specific groups of women came to understand and represent their past and present experiences.[i]

For scholars who have published in Turkish, women’s studies began with “archaeological” work, that is, republishing, annotating, and analyzing earlier writings and biographies of important women figures. Women’s history is still regarded as denoting an ‘add women and stir’ approach, with a tendency to minimize theory and maximize storytelling to emphasize variability among Turkish women’s experiences. Starting from the late 1980s and the early 1990s, the field of women’s history in Turkey sought to construct women as historical subjects through the efforts of pioneering scholars such as Nermin Abadan-Unat, Fatmagül Berktay, Şirin Tekeli, and Zafer Toprak.[ii] Women historians and social scientists documented the lives of women in the past, analyzed the specific conditions of women’s subordination, and struggled to make “women” active agents of history. The exclusive focus of this approach, known as “her-story,” was on female agency, on the causal role played by women in their history, and on the qualities of women’s experience that sharply distinguished it from men’s experience.[iii] This emphasis on personal and subjective experience became a powerful tool to refute the claims of those who argued that women had no significant place in the past. Both “her-story” and social history offered historically grounded accounts of women and minorities who had been excluded from political history, and shared the potential to challenge and reshape the contours of “male history.” In Turkey, these efforts were institutionalized under the Women’s Library and Information Center Foundation (WLICF) (Kadın Eserleri Kütüphanesi ve Bilgi Merkezi Vakfı), founded in 1990. Since the 1990s, WLICF has been documenting, locating, and preserving women’s records, and restoring their voices and making them visible.[iv]

Yet the progress has been slower than expected or hoped for.[v] The title of a recent edited volume, Inch by Inch: Studies on Feminism in Turkey at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century (Birkaç Arpa Boyu… 21. Yüzyıla Girerken Türkiye’de Feminist Çalışmalar I-II) reflects this rate of progress.[vi] There are several reasons. In Turkey, as with many other countries in the Middle East, scholarship on the history of women and gender studies is directly pertinent to activism concerning gender and human rights, “with repercussions in law reform, legislation, medical care, social safety nets, and a host of other areas with an immediate impact on the lives of women, men, and children.”[vii] As the academic demand for women and gender studies has been weak, only a few major universities have established separate women and gender studies departments that can facilitate research in this field. Instead of opening up a separate field of study, the Middle East Technical University, and subsequently Istanbul, Ankara and Marmara Universities, have opened centers for women’s studies, offering certificate programs for students in other majors. Women’s and gender history has only recently been recognized as a thematic subfield in history departments. At the same time, there exist funding constraints and language barriers that discourage potential researchers. These include, for example, the politics of archival access, such as the current unavailability of permits for the use of the archives of the Turkish Women’s Union (Türk Kadınlar Birliği), or to the private archives of Mustafa Kemal’s former wife Latife Uşaklıgil. These institutional limitations, political constraints, and academic challenges have slowed down progress, but have at the same time diversified the efforts of scholars and activists alike to engage in this growing field of scholarship.

Starting in the 2000s, women’s historians have shown a more concentrated effort to chart the evolution of the intellectual currents that produced Ottoman/Turkish feminism. It was not a coincidence that there was a growing scholarly interest in the Islamic feminism of the post 1980s and in Muslim women’s agency, almost simultaneously and in connection with a critical take on early Republican feminism, or what some scholars have labeled “state feminism.”[viii] Some scholars have highlighted that the Islamist feminists in Turkey in the second half of the 1980s initially sprang from the segment of society which had not profited from a Kemalist, secularized, and Westernized modernity, and that their feminism was a reaction to the limitations of state feminism inspired by Kemalism.[ix] Others have emphasized that some of these Islamic feminists came from secular backgrounds and were deeply committed to the Republican state, yet could not be integrated into the “system” with their headscarves.[x] Therefore, the experiences of these women demonstrate that the secular state could neither provide a role model such that they might emulate and forego their headscarves, nor succeed in providing an inclusive environment to integrate them, with their headscarves, into the broader secular system. Concurrently, other scholars challenged the revisionist scholarship which embodied state feminism, as did Nermin Abadan-Unat, Afet İnan, and Tezer Taşkıran in their works in the 1960s and 70s, suggesting instead that the Republican feminists were indeed “emancipated but unliberated.”[xi] Another book called Republican feminism, “Women-less Reform” (Kadınsız İnkılap).[xii] As both titles indicate, expanding women’s rights was considered as a Republican project of modernity, and it was permitted to the extent that the Founding Fathers judged it to be serving the interests of a modernizing project.[xiii] In these works, the Republican Party’s decision to enforce closing down the Turkish Women’s Union in 1935 was used as an example for the regime’s authoritarian rigidity. What remains to be explored in more detail is the internal divisions among Republican feminists themselves, and consequently the diversity of the relationships that varying factions established with the regime.

Understanding the root of these divisions and building a fuller picture of the Republican feminist movement requires a thorough understanding of Ottoman Turkish feminism that preceded it. When one Turkish academic asked me my dissertation topic a couple of years ago, she told me that Ottoman women did not have any history of feminism. “It is the Republican women, you should instead focus on,” she emphasized. It is only recently that feminism in the pre-Republican period began to be discovered. While Egyptian feminists cautiously tried to preserve the connection between different feminist traditions, early Republican feminists in Turkey betrayed the legacy of late-Ottoman feminism, as the feminists of the post-1908 period betrayed the generation of Fatma Aliye who were mostly active in 1880s. Post-1908 feminism devalued the previous efforts of their Ottoman sisters, and they themselves were later subjected to the same fate of outdatedness by early-Republican feminists. Each feminist wave created its own ancien régime, and capitalized on it, at the notable expense of alienating themselves from previous efforts. If our existing scholarship recognizes the early Republican feminism as a triumph of feminism and does not give enough credit to the efforts of late-Ottoman women, the early Republican feminists themselves and their efforts to disestablish the value systems of the Ottoman ancien régime, are partially responsible for this gap and bias in the historiography. This explains why there is a century-long lacuna in the history of women’s movements in Turkey, with relatively few works examining 1880-1980.

Compared to the well-documented history of Egyptian feminism, our field suffers from what Nikkie Keddie has called “one near-omission from the literature on women in western languages,” offering a broader history of the evolution of Ottoman and Turkish feminism from the late nineteenth-century to the 1980s.[xiv] The last major comprehensive study of Ottoman-Turkish feminism published in English is Fanny Davis’s The Ottoman Lady: A Social History from 1718 to 1918.[xv] Since then, others have contributed immensely to the scholarship with their comprehensive surveys of Ottoman feminism, but their works have not yet been translated into English.[xvi] The primary contribution to English-language study of Turkish and Ottoman feminism have been several recent collections of articles. One of the most notable is A Social History of Late Ottoman Women: New Perspectives, edited by Duygu Köksal and Anastasia Falierou, which presents late Ottoman and early Republican women as figures in a “co-temporal history with women of Western geographies, responding to similar developments.”[xvii] Also, highly focused are the three most recent collections, Ottoman Women in Public Space edited by Ebru Boyar and Kate Fleet, Women and the City, Women in the City: A Gendered Perspective on Ottoman Urban History edited by Nazan Maksudyan, and Women in the Ottoman Balkans edited by Amila Butorović and İrvin Cemil Schick.[xviii] The late Yavuz Selim Karakışla and Zafer Toprak also deserve particular attention, as they both advanced the previously neglected fields of scholarship with their meticulous research documenting the histories of ordinary women in everyday life, some of whom were employed by the Society for the Employment of Ottoman Muslim Women, including female servants, tailors, and employees in the telephone companies.[xix] Additionally, biographies of famous women and their collected works have also appeared.[xx] Lastly, there have been two themes that scholars have recently begun to explore: first, non-Muslim women’s activism focusing mostly on Greek and Armenian women, and second, the history of disease, sexuality, fertility, and mortality in the Ottoman Empire, a growing field mixing the history of science with gender history.[xxi]

These books, however, only underscore how much work remains to be done, especially theorizing how gender operates historically. Discussions around this deficiency have created a controversy among western scholars during the last twenty years, but this re-orientation toward gender and historical study has not yet taken effect in studies of Turkey: “Is women’s history merely an innocuous supplement to existing narratives, or does the integration of these new stories and perspectives demand that the analytic structures themselves be reshaped?”[xxii] Joan Scott contended that feminist history becomes not just an attempt to correct or supplement an incomplete record of the past, as in the “her story” approach, but rather becomes a way of critically understanding how history operates as a site of the production of gender knowledge.[xxiii] In this formulation, “woman’s place in human social life is not in any direct sense a production of the things she does, but of the meaning her activities acquire through concrete social interaction.”[xxiv] Scott and other post-structuralists problematized the organic and unmediated link between experience and subjectivity. For poststructuralist historians such as Scott, knowledge of the past, of ourselves, and of sexual difference does not come from reconstructing objective experiences but through analyzing the “systems of meaning” that make possible and construct those experiences in the first place.[xxv]

Our workshop „Mapping Gender in the Near East: What’s New and What’s Ahead in Ottoman and Turkish Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies“ is an effort to address these issues by merging the insights of multiple fields.

Bringing together an interdisciplinary group of scholars in the humanities and social sciences, this workshop will establish, consolidate and sustain a network of academics who share an interest in women’s and gender studies with regard to the Ottoman world and modern Turkey. Leading scholars across several major fields – including history, literature, and interdisciplinary studies – will examine recent theoretical discourses and challenges in the area of women’s and gender studies and contribute to steering the field in innovative directions.

For the detailed program and registration information on the upcoming virtual workshop „Mapping Gender in the Near East: What’s New and What’s Ahead in Ottoman and Turkish Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies“, December 9-10, 2020, 14.00-17.30 (Turkish time, GMT +3), click here [LINK]

We look forward to seeing you all next week!

Dr. Gülşah Torunoğlu is a research fellow at the Swedish Research Institute (SRII) and a visiting scholar at the Orient-Institut Istanbul, where she is revising her dissertation to publish as a monograph. She holds a PhD in History from Ohio State University (2019) specializing in comparative women’s history in the Middle East. Previously, she held visiting fellow positions at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the American University in Cairo, and at Princeton University. During the 2019-2020 academic year, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Koç University’s Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations (ANAMED). Over this past summer she also taught a course on “Women and Gender in Literature” at Koç University.

[i] I address this topic in more detail in my dissertation, “A Comparative History of Feminism in Egypt and Turkey, 1880-1935: Dialogue and Difference,” (Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation, The Ohio State University, 2019).

[ii] Türk Toplumunda Kadın, Nermin Abadan-Unat, ed., Ankara: Türk Sosyal Bilimler Derneği, 1980; Nermin Abadan-Unat, Kum Saatini İzlerken, İstanbul: İletişim, 1996; Nermin Abadan-Unat, “Social Change and Turkish Women,” in Women in Turkish Society, Nermin Abadan Unat ed., Leiden: Brill, 1981; Nermin Abadan-Unat, “Söylemden Protestoya: Türkiye’de Kadın Hareketlerinin Dönüşümü,” in 75. Yılda Kadın ve Erkekler, Ayşe Berktay Hacımirzaoğlu ed., İstanbul: Tarih Vakfı, 1998, pp. 323–336; Şirin Tekeli, “Women in Turkish Politics,” in Women in Turkish Society, Nermin Abadan-Unat ed., Leiden: Brill, 1981; Şirin Tekeli, “Emergence of the Feminist Movement in Turkey,” in The New Women’s Movement: Feminism and Political Power in Europe and the USA, Drude Dahlerup ed., London: Sage Publications, 1986, pp. 179–199; Women in Modern Turkish Society, Şirin Tekeli ed., London: Zed Books, 1991; Fatmagül Berktay, Tarihin Cinsiyeti, İstanbul: Metis Yayınları, 2003; Zafer Toprak, Türkiye’de Kadın Özgürlüğü ve Feminizm, 1908-1935, İstanbul: Tarih Vakfı Yurt Yayınları, 2014; Zafer Toprak, “The Family, Feminism, and the State during The Young Turk Period, 1908-1918,” in Premiere Recontre Internationale sur l’Empire Ottoman et la Turquie Moderne, İstanbul-Paris: ISIS, 1991; Bernard Caporal, Kemalizm’de ve Kemalizm Sonrasında Türk Kadını: (1919-1970), Ankara: Yenigün Haber Ajansı, 1999.

[iii] Joan Scott, “Women’s History,” in Gender and the Politics of History, New York: Columbia University Press, 1999, p. 20; Ayşe Durakbaşa and Aynur İlyasoğlu, “Formation of Gender Identities in Republican Turkey and Women’s Narratives as Transmitters of ‚Herstory‘ of Modernization, Journal of Social History, Vol. 35, No. 1 (Autumn, 2001), pp. 195-203.

[iv] For more information about the Women’s Library and Information Center, see: Aslı Davaz, “The First and Only Women’s Library and Archives in Turkey,” Aspasia 4 (2010), pp. 235-239; Diane James, “Women’s Memory Symposium: Women’s Library and Information Center, Istanbul,” Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies, Volume 5, Number 3, Fall 2009, pp. 175-182.

[v] For a more detailed overview of the development of women’s and gender studies in Turkey, see: Yeşim Arat, “Women’s Studies in Turkey: From Kemalism to Feminism,” New Perspectives on Turkey 9, 1993, pp. 119-35; Necla Arat, “Women’s Studies in Turkey,” Women’s Studies Quarterly 1 and 2, 1996, pp. 400-411; Fatmagül Berktay, “Women’s Studies in Turkey 1980-1990,” in Women’s Memory, proceedings of the International Symposium of Women’s Libraries, İstanbul, 8-10 October 1991, İstanbul: Metis Yayıncılık, pp. 271-80; Marianne Grünell and Anneke Voeten, “State of the Art: Feminism in Plural: Women’s Studies in Turkey,” the European Journal of Women’s Studies, Vol. 4, 1997, pp. 219-233; Deniz Kandiyoti, “Gender and Women’s Studies in Turkey: A Moment for Reflection?” New Perspectives on Turkey, No: 43, 2010, pp. 165-176; Serpil Çakır, “Feminism and Feminist History-Writing in Turkey: The Discovery of Ottoman Feminism,” Aspasia, Volume 1, 2007, pp. 61–83.

[vi] Birkaç Arpa Boyu: 21. Yüzyıla Girerken Türkiye’de Feminist Çalışmalar I-II, Serpil Sancar ed., İstanbul: Koç Üniversitesi Yayınları, 2011.

[vii] Marilyn Booth, “New Directions in Middle East Women’s and Gender History,” Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History 4:1, 2003, (no page number, para. 4).

[viii] Yeşim Arat, Rethinking Islam and Liberal Democracy: Islamist Women in Turkish Politics, Albany, 2005; Yeşim Arat, “Women’s Movement of the 1980s in Turkey: Radical Outcome of Liberal Kemalism?” in Reconstructing Gender in the Middle East: Tradition, Identity and Power, Shiva Balaghi and Fatma Müge Göcek eds., New York: Columbia University Press, 1994, pp. 100-113; Ayşe Saktanber, Living Islam: Women, Religion and the Politicization of Culture in Turkey, New York, 2002; Nilüfer Göle, The Forbidden Modern: Civilization and Veiling, Ann Arbor, 1996; Nükhet Sırman, “Feminism in Turkey: A Short History,” New Perspectives in Turkey, Vol. 3, No. 1 (1989).

[ix] Ayşe Saktanber, Living Islam: Women, Religion and the Politicization of Culture in Turkey, New York, 2002; Nilüfer Göle, The Forbidden Modern: Civilization and Veiling, Ann Arbor, 1996.

[x] Yeşim Arat, Rethinking Islam and Liberal Democracy: Islamist Women in Turkish Politics, Albany, 2005, p. 51.

[xi] Deniz Kandiyoti, “Emancipated but Unliberated? Reflections on the Turkish Case,” Feminist Studies, Vol. 13, No. 2 (Summer, 1987), pp. 317-338; Şirin Tekeli, “Women in Turkish Politics,” in Women in Turkish Society, Nermin Abadan-Unat ed., Leiden: Brill, 1981.

[xii] Yaprak Zihnioğlu, Kadınsız İnkılap, Nezihe Muhiddin, Kadınlar Halk Fırkası, Kadınlar Birliği, İstanbul: Metis Yayınları, 2003. For a more recent work on the Turkish Women’s Union see, Aslı Davaz, Eşitsiz Kız Kardeşlik: Uluslararası Ortadoğu Kadın Hareketleri, 1935 Kongresi ve Türk Kadın Birliği, İstanbul: İş Bankası Kültür Yayınları, 2014.

[xiii] According to these scholars, regardless of the state-imposed limits to women’s rights, the Turkish state as well as Turkish citizens prided themselves on how Kemalist reforms emancipated women in Turkey, thus a tradition of pride with state feminism was invented and institutionalized. See, Yeşim Arat, Rethinking Islam and Liberal Democracy, pp. 17-19.

[xiv] Nikki R. Keddie, “Women in the Limelight: Some Recent Books on Middle Eastern Women’s History,” International Journal of Middle East Studies, Vol. 34, No. 3 (August 2002), p. 556.

[xv] Fanny Davis, The Ottoman Lady: A Social History from 1718 to 1918. (Contributions in Women’s Studies, number 70.) Westport, Conn.: Greenwood. 1986.

[xvi] Serpil Çakır, Osmanlı Kadın Hareketi, İstanbul: Metis, 1994; Aynur Demirdirek, Osmanlı Kadınlarının Hayat Hakkı Arayışlarının Hikayesi, Ankara: İmge, 1993; Aynur Demirdirek, “In Pursuit of the Ottoman Women’s Movement,” in Deconstructing Images of The Turkish Women, Zehra Arat ed., New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1998, pp. 65–82; Şefika Kurnaz, Cumhuriyet Öncesinde Türk Kadını, 1839-1923, Ankara: Başbakanlık Aile Araştırma Kurumu Başkanlığı, 1991; Şefika Kurnaz, Yenileşme Sürecinde Türk Kadını, 1839-1923, Ankara: Ötüken, 2011; Ayşe Durakbaşa, Türk Modernleşmesi ve Feminizm, İstanbul: İletişim Yayınları, 2000; Ayşegül C. Baykan, “’The Turkish Woman’: An Adventure in Feminist Historiography,” Gender & History, Vo1.6 No.1 April 1994, pp. 101-116; Aynur Demirdirek, Osmanlı Kadınlarının Hayat Hakkı Arayıslarının Hikayesi, Ankara: Imge, 1993; Deniz Kandiyoti, ‘End of Empire: Islam, Nationalism and Women in Turkey’, in Women, Islam and the State, ed. D. Kandiyoti, Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1991, 22–47. Idem, Women, Islam and the State, London: Macmillan, 1991; Hülya Yıldız, “Rethinking the Political: Ottoman Women as Feminist Subjects,” Journal of Gender Studies, 2016, pp. 1-15; Alexander Safarian, “On the History of Turkish Feminism,” Iran and the Caucaus 11, 2017, pp. 141-151; Serpil Atamaz-Hazar, “Reconstructing the History of the Constitutional Era in Ottoman Turkey through Women’s Periodicals,” Aspasia, Volume 5, 2011, pp. 92–111; Arzu Öztürkmen, “The Women’s Movement under Ottoman and Republican Rule: A Historical Reappraisal,” Journal of Women’s History, Volume 25, Number 4, Winter 2013, pp. 255-264.

[xvii] A Social History of Late Ottoman Women: New Perspectives, edited by Duygu Köksal and Anastasia Falierou eds., Leiden, Brill, 2013.

[xviii] Ottoman Women in Public Space, Ebru Boyar and Kate Fleet eds., Brill, 2016; Women and the City, Women in the City: A Gendered Perspective on Ottoman Urban History, Nazan Maksudyan ed. Berghahn Books, 2014; Women in the Ottoman Balkans: Gender, Culture, History, Amila Butorović and İrvin Cemil Schick eds., New York: I.B. Tauris, 2007.

[xix] Yavuz Selim Karakışla, Women, War and Work in the Ottoman Empire: Society for the Employment of Ottoman Muslim Women (1916-1923), İstanbul: Osmanlı Bankası Arşiv ve Araştırma Merkezi, 2005; Yavuz Selim Karakışla, Osmanlı Kadın Telefon Memureleri (1913-1923), Türk Telekom Yayınları, İstanbul, 2008; Yavuz Selim Karakışla, Osmanlı Hanımları ve Kadın Terzileri (1869-1923), Akıl Fikir Yayınları, İstanbul, 2014; Yavuz Selim Karakışla, Osmanlı Hanımları ve Hizmetçi Kadınlar (1869-1927), Akıl Fikir Yayınları, İstanbul, 2014; Yavuz Selim Karakışla, Osmanlı Ordusunda Kadın Askerler: Birinci Kadın İşçi Taburu (1917-1919), Akıl Fikir Yayınları, İstanbul, 2015; Yavuz Selim Karakışla, Derli Toplu Makaleler I (1988-1999), Akıl Fikir Yayınları, İstanbul, 2015; Yavuz Selim Karakışla, Derli Toplu Makaleler II (1999-2002), Akıl Fikir Yayınları, İstanbul, 2015; Yavuz Selim Karakışla, Derli Toplu Makaleler III (2003-2014), Akıl Fikir Yayınları, İstanbul, 2015; Yavuz Selim Karakışla, Eski İnsanlar, Eski Cemiyetler: Osmanlı Toplumsal Tarih Çalışmaları (1904-1926), Doğan Kitap, İstanbul, 2015; Yavuz Selim Karakışla, Eski Hayatlar, Eski Hatıralar: Osmanlı İmparatorluğu’nda Belgelerle Gündelik Hayat (1760-1923), Doğan Kitap, İstanbul, 2015, Yavuz Selim Karakışla, Osmanlı İmparatorluğu’nda Savaş Yılları ve Çalışan Kadınlar: Kadınları Çalıştırma Cemiyeti (1916-1923), İletişim Yayınları, İstanbul, 2015; Tiginçe Oktar, Osmanlı Toplumunda Kadının Çalışma Yaşamı, Kadınları Çaliştırma Cemiyeti İslamiyesi, Istanbul: Bilim Teknik Yayınevi, 1998. Zafer Toprak’s articles on women’s and gender history were collected in an edited volume in 2014, see: Zafer Toprak, Türkiye’de Kadın Özgürlüğü ve Feminizm, 1908-1935, İstanbul: Tarih Vakfı Yurt Yayınları, 2014.

[xx] Kızıltan, Mübeccel. Fatma Aliye Hanım: Yaşamı, Sanatı, Yapıtları ve Nisvan-i İslam. İstanbul: Mutlu, 1993; Adak, Hülya, “Gendering Biography: Ahmet Mithat (on Fatma Aliye) or the Canonization of an Ottoman Male Writer,” Querelles, 10, 2005, 189–204; Şahika Karaca, “Fatma Aliye Hanım’ın Türk Kadın Haklarının Düşünsel Temellerine Katkıları,” Karadeniz Araştırmaları Dergisi, Güz, 2011, Sayı: 31, pp. 93-110; Şahika Karaca, “Modernleşme Döneminde Bir Kadın Yazarın Portresi: Emine Semiye Hanım,” BILIG, 2011, pp. 115-134; Şahika Karaca, Fatma Aliye ve Emine Semiye’nin Kadının Toplumsal Kimliğinin Kazandırılmasında Öncü Fikirleri, The Journal of Academic Social Science Studies, Volume 6, Issue 2, 2013, pp. 1481-1499; Erdağ Göknar, “Turkish-Islamic Feminism Confronts National Patriarchy, Halide Edib’s Divided Self,” Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies, Volume 9, Number 2, Spring 2013, pp. 32-57; Elifhan Köse, “Muhafazakâr Modern Medeniyet Projesinin Kadın Mimarı: Halide Edip Adıvar,” Kebikeç 32. 2011, pp. 57-74; Carter Vaughn Findley, “Fatma Aliye: First Ottoman Woman Novelist, Pioneer Feminist,” Collection Turcica, Vol. VIII (Paris: Peeters, 1995): 783-794; Biyografya: Sabiha Sertel, Ayşegül Yaraman ed., Istanbul: Bağlam Yayıncılık, 2010; İnci Enginün, Halide Edip Adıvar: Hayatı, Kişiliği, Eserleri, Istanbul: Toker Yayınları, 1998; Serpil Çakır, “Kadın Tarihinden İki İsim Ulviye Mevlan Nezihe Muhiddin,” Toplumsal Tarih, Haziran 1997, pp. 6-14.

[xxi] Seçil Yılmaz, “Love in the Time of Syphilis: Medicine and Sex in the Ottoman Empire, 1860- 1922,” [Unpublished doctoral dissertation, The City University of New York, 2016]; Alan Duben and Cem Behar. İstanbul Households: Mariage, Family and Fertility, 1880- 1940, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991; Efi Kanner, “Transcultural Encounters: Discourses on Women’s Rights and Feminist Interventions in the Ottoman Empire, Greece, and Turkey from the Mid-Nineteenth Century to the Interwar Period,” Journal of Women’s History, Vol. 28, No: 3, Fall 2016, pp. 66-92; Victoria Rowe, “Armenian Writers and Women’s Rights Discourse in Turn-of-the-Twentieth-Century Constantinople,” Aspasia, Volume 2, 2008: 44–69; Bir Adalet Feryadı: Osmanlı’dan Türkiye’ye Beş Ermeni Feminist Yazar, 18621933, Lerna Ekmekçioğlu, Melissa Bilal eds., İstanbul: Aras Yayıncılık, 2006; Aynur Demirdirek “Muslim Ottoman Feminists‘ Perceptions of Their non-Muslim Counterparts after Meşrutiyet” Fe Dergi 6, no. 1 (2013), pp. 1-17.

[xxii] Laura Lee Downs, “From Women’s History to Gender History,” Writing History, Stefan Berger, Heiko Feldner, and Kevin Passmore eds., London: Hodder Arnold, 2003, p. 262.

[xxiii] Joan W. Scott, Gender and the Politics of History, New York: Columbia University Press, 1999, p. 10.

[xxiv] Joan W. Scott, “Gender: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis,” in The American Historical Review, Vol. 91, No.5 (December, 1986) p. 1067.

[xxv] Louise M. Newman, “Critical Theory and the History of Women: What’s at Stake in Deconstructing Women’s History,” in Journal of Women’s History, Volume 2, Number 3, Winter 1991, p. 63.

Citation:  Torunoğlu, Gülşah. “Fortuities of an online search and the complexities of Ottoman feminism,” Orient-Institut Istanbul Blog, 4 December 2020.


Islamicate world; Ottoman Empire; Turkey; Egypt; gender; feminism; research; humanities; social sciences; OII-History & Life Narratives