1st Edition

Travelling Theory and Women’s Movements in Turkey Imagining Europe

By Demet Gulcicek Copyright 2024
    170 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Drawing on archival research, Travelling Theory and Women’s Movements in Turkey examines the imagination of Europe in the context of women’s rights movements in a self-defined non-European setting. It brings travelling theory, poststructuralist feminist theories and orientalist studies together to provide an original theoretical framework for understanding the complex and often contradictory imaginations of Europe. Such imaginations can be an object of desire, fantasy, hate and hostility in a non-European context. This volume sheds light on the manner in which local power dynamics are reproduced, negotiated and subverted during the travel of women’s and feminist movements. With a focus on the late Ottoman Empire, the book questions how ‘Other’ positions can be inhabited by the ‘Self’ and unpacks sexual and normative dimensions of demanding women’s rights in this context. As such, it will appeal to scholars of sociology, cultural studies and gender studies with interests in feminist theory and notions of European and non-European categories.


    CHAPTER 1: Feminist Travelling Theories and Imaginary Geographies

    CHAPTER 2: Gender History, Feminist Genealogy and the Archival Turn

    CHAPTER 3: ‘The Sick Man of Europe’: The Contexts Women’s Movements Travel

    CHAPTER 4: Negotiations in discourses on ‘Europe’: The production of Occidentalism

    CHAPTER 5: Clothing as Women’s Rights: Protecting the Sexual Purity of Women (and Nation) From Europe

    CHAPTER 6: ‘Mood of Commitment’: Inhabiting Motherhood Positions

    CHAPTER 7: Conclusion: Europe is not about Europe


    Demet Gülçiçek is an Honorary Researcher at University of Warwick, UK and an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Munzur University, Turkey.

    ‘This book is a sincere and challenging invitation to rethink the complexities and contradictions of women's rights discourses in the light of current experiences of doing feminist research. Demet Gülçiçek's theoretically rich account of early women's movements in Turkey raises very important issues not only about a particular geography and a historical period but also regarding the ethics and politics of conducting feminist research today. The book utilizes Occidentalism and traveling theory as key analytical tools in order to traverse local and transnational feminist concerns.  As the past history vibrates in the present, and as the imagined geographies mirror each other with crucial methodological reflections, time and space are dislocated from their fixed ideological positions suspending the binary between 'East' and 'West' and contributing to fresh currents of critical feminist thinking.’ - Professor Meltem Ahıska, Boğaziçi University, Turkey


    ‘This book has an intriguing title which encourages the asking of questions about women’s movements, how the ideas that inform them travel, and what an imaginary Europe has to do with women’s movements in Turkey. Demet Gülçiçek explores how women who demanded rights in the early 20th century positioned themselves in relation to ideas about women’s rights, Europe as both something to emulate and as threat, and the modernising nationalist movement in Turkey. She shows that ideas might travel but that the local context wherein they are understood and acted upon shapes their meaning. Gülçiçek’s theoretical sophistication and thoughtful and reflexive writing style ensure that the book is not only a pleasure to read but also an important intervention in our understanding of how imaginings and contradictions shape the difficult path taken by those who choose to enter the room and bring about political change. It is a major contribution to feminist travelling theory and our understanding of feminism and women’s movements.’ - Professor Nickie Charles, University of Warwick, UK


    ‘This book investigates how women’s rights demands were expressed and negotiated during the first women’s movement in the Ottoman Empire.  Demet Gülçiçek uses a well-known feminist magazine from that period as a case for exploring Turkish feminists’ imaginary of Europe and how ideas about women’s rights were taken up and reiterated at a time when the West was associated with modernity. It is a very interesting case for thinking about how feminist ideas travel and, as such, a perfect contribution to the series, The Feminist Imagination: Europe and Beyond. Gülçiçek’s aim is to explore themes in the magazine and the discussions about them in order to understand the ways feminists imagined Europe and how they used Europe to demand women’s rights in their local context. The themes around clothing, sexuality and women’s honor and motherhood provide a good focus for her investigation. She does not just add the case of Turkey to this discussion (i.e. as a special case in an otherwise Anglo-American discussion). She uses a local context to question what Europe means. In this way, she provides an example of how all of us might learn to think transnationally.’ - Professor Mary Evans, London School of Economics, UK