The Hands that Rock the Cradle will Rise: Women, Gender, and Revolution in Ottoman Turkey, 1908-1918
AuthorAtamaz Hazar, Serpil
AdvisorDARLING, LINDA T.
Committee ChairDARLING, LINDA T.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractModern Turkish historiography has long claimed that Turkish women were fortunate, because they were granted equal rights by their benevolent leader Ataturk, without even having to ask or fight for them. This dissertation disproves that argument by demonstrating that Turkish women had been vigorously fighting for their rights well before the establishment of the Republic. While it is true that Turkish women had to wait until the 1930s to secure full legal rights, they had demanded gender equality since the Ottoman Revolution of 1908, followed by years of war, which together exerted a tremendous social and cultural impact on all strata of society, above all women. As such, this study addresses three main questions: How did the revolution transform women's social position as well as gender relations in Ottoman society? What role did the `woman question' and gender issues play in the formation of revolutionary politics and discourse in the late Ottoman Empire? Finally, how did Ottoman women participate in shaping, transforming, enforcing, and/or challenging the objectives of the revolution?I argue that the 1908 Revolution triggered significant changes in the Ottoman public discourse, political agendas, and the organization of daily life concerning gender equality and that Turkish women, taking advantage of the new venues and opportunities provided by the revolution in effective and innovative ways, played a vital role in creating and implementing this change. Studying the ideas and actions of a large number of upper and middle class Turkish women as well as the government's attitude towards women between 1908 and 1918, I demonstrate that women in the late Ottoman society were far from being passive, powerless, and silent, as the nationalist historiography has claimed they were. I reveal that, on the contrary, these women were active participants in the revolutionary process, in the struggle for equal rights, and consequently in the construction of a new political regime, a new social order, and their own roles in this new context.