This essay introduces the re-issue of Zeyneb Hanoum’s 1913 volume, reprinted as part of the series Cultures in Dialogue. Conceived by myself and developed with Professor Teresa Heffernan (St Mary’s University, Canada), the series is directive in its re-visioning of the field of middle-eastern women’s cultural history. Returning to print memoir and travel writing by women from and about the Ottoman Empire, Series One has 11 volumes, with critical introductions from researchers from Greece, Turkey, Germany, USA, Canada and the UK.
|Type of Research:||Book Section|
|Additional Information (Publicly available):|
This essay has been disseminated in international conference panels. I have convened with series contributors, including USA (MESA, MLA, Berks Women’s History), Toronto and Istanbul (CSA, supported by British Academy Overseas Conference Grant).
Born into the Ottoman Muslim elite, Zeyneb Hanoum and her sister Melek Hanoum were given a Western-style education by their progressive father, who expected them subsequently to live the segregated lives of Ottoman ladies. Rebelling, the sisters arranged to meet the French author Pierre Loti and collaborated with him on his famous book Les Désenchantés/The Disenchanted in the hope that harnessing European intellectual support would speed up Ottoman social reform. Fleeing Istanbul in 1906 for fear of imperial reprisals, the sisters traveled in disguise to Europe, hoping to find "freedom" in the West. Zeyneb Hanoum's correspondence with the English feminist Grace Ellison (also in this series), provides an account both of their restricted lives in Istanbul and of their disappointment with the state of emancipation of Western women. With Zeyneb Hanum's letters punctuated by Ellison's introduction, commentary, and footnotes, this book challenges Orientalist stereotypes as it exposes the cultural and political agency of Ottoman Muslim women and documents the vibrant engagement between Eastern and Western women at the fin de siècle.
Cultures in Dialogue returns to print sources by women writers from the East and West. Series One considers the exchanges between Ottoman, British, and American women from the 1880s to the 1940s. Their varied responses to dilemmas such as nationalism, female emancipation, race relations and modernization in the context of the stereotypes characteristic of Western harem literature reframe the historical tensions between Eastern and Western cultures, offering a nuanced understanding of their current manifestations.
|Keywords/subjects not otherwise listed:||Turkey, travel writing, orientalism, feminism|
|Your affiliations with UAL:||Colleges > London College of Fashion|
Research Groups > Historical and Cultural Studies
|Deposited By:||INVALID USER|
|Deposited On:||07 Dec 2009 11:49|
|Last Modified:||03 Aug 2011 15:37|