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Mapping Gender in the Near East – What’s New and What’s Ahead in Ottoman and Turkish Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Juni 21, 2021@8:00 am5:00 pm

Mapping Gender in the Near East

What’s New and What’s Ahead in Ottoman and Turkish Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

An international and interdisciplinary workshop

December 9-10, 2020

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.

This workshop is designed to address two problems in women’s and gender studies: the lack of transnational and comparative scholarship, as well as the dearth of interdisciplinary collaboration. This workshop responds to the fact that the scholarly literatures in women’s and gender studies in the Ottoman-Turkish milieu and in the Arab and Balkan world have been, on the whole, kept tightly segregated from each other. Consequently, the four panels of the workshop are centered around key approaches that would benefit from being in dialogue. By doing so, they will allow leading scholars in the field to appraise the current state of research across national boundaries and academic disciplines and to bring forth new conversations and inter-regional dialogue about improving our approaches in the future development of the field. These interactions will help stimulate and guide future research efforts by delineating critical paths for subsequent research. The presentations will address key aspects such as:

  • The development of scholarship in women’s and gender studies over the past decade, and the future directions the field might take.

  • The comparative state of the field of women’s and gender studies in Turkey and its neighboring countries.

  • The evolving position of women and gender in the contemporary societies of the region.

  • Policy changes, both past and present, that have shaped the status quo of women and gender.

The conceptual framework of the event and its significance:

This workshop will be groundbreaking in allowing scholars working on women’s and gender studies in the Ottoman world and modern Turkey to come together to discuss the state of the field. Despite the fact that many talented scholars work on issues related to women’s studies, gender and sexuality across the former Ottoman provinces (primarily Lebanon, Egypt, and the Balkans) as well as modern Turkey, there has rarely been academic platforms enabling scholars to focus specifically on their shared area(s) of research.  Resulting from a severe lack of communication among scholars working on these topics the field has therefore become compartmentalized and the current discourses remain fragmented. By convening a small-scale, highly focused event with internationally renowned speakers, this workshop seeks to bridge the communication gap and inspire new academic approaches among scholars of different nationalities and from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds. The event is framed around three main academic disciplines that have informed women’s and gender studies: the humanities, the social sciences, and law.  By examining the most recent developments in the state of the field, each panel will contribute to a richer, more complex understanding of the field of women’s and gender studies in modern Turkey and its neighboring countries, while putting experts from each area into conversation with each other. In doing so, the workshop hopes to foster solidarities that connect common struggles beyond fixed geographic borders and academic disciplines.

Additionally, this workshop will provide a platform to discuss how to compensate for the lack of an institutional infrastructure for women’s and gender studies in and around Turkey. Currently, only few major universities have established separate women’s and gender studies departments to facilitate research in this field. Instead of inaugurating a separate field of study, numerous universities have opened up centers for women’s studies by offering certificate programs for students in other academic disciplines. Women’s and gender history have only recently been recognized as a thematic subfield within history departments. Therefore, women’s and gender studies frequently lack the institutional support to tackle large-scale research questions. Hence, the workshop will conclude by discussing how to best use existing resources, such as collaboration among research centers, activist organizations, and other institutions more effectively as an attempt to facilitate future growth and forms of cooperation in the field of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies.

Four roundtable panels:

  1. Mapping the Field: Literary Approaches to Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies in Turkey and the Near East.

  2. Mapping the Field: Historicizing Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies in Turkey and the Near East.

  3. Mapping the Field: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies on the Region.

  4. New Directions: The Academy, Solidarity, and Public Outreach.


Juni 21, 2021
8:00 am-5:00 pm


Orient-Institut Istanbul
Şahkulu Mah., Galip Dede Cad. No. 65
Beyoğlu, İstanbul 34421 Turkey
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