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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Südosteuropäische Geschichte

Hale Şaşmaz

 

Gender Politics in Regime Transition:
Woman Intellectuals in the Early Republican Era (1923-1945)

 

How do woman intellectuals cope with political transitions and continue their intellectual careers? To answer this question, this research study will examine the experiences of Ottoman/Turkish woman intellectuals in the Republican Era (1923-1945) and analyze gender politics of the founding ideology of Kemalism and its role in shaping woman intellectuals’ identities and careers. Using archival and biographical material, the political discourse of the republican era regarding the position of intellectual women and the boundaries of their mobility will be analyzed. Drawing on this background, women’s strategies and struggles against the nationalist project of the official ideology of Kemalism will be examined. Paying attention to the continuity from the Unionist period, this study will include women called “the daughters of the Republic” and Ottoman-Turkish intellectuals who began their careers in the Ottoman Empire. Then it will try to account for the divergence in their careers. Going beyond individual life histories of woman intellectuals, this study will bring multiple woman intellectuals in the republican period together and provide a comparative perspective in a politically turbulent time. It aims to shed light on how patriarchal practices became hegemonic in the nation building process among secular and modernizing discourses.