Rethinking the political: Ottoman women as feminist subjects

Yildiz H.

JOURNAL OF GENDER STUDIES, vol.27, pp.177-191, 2018 (Journal Indexed in SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 27
  • Publication Date: 2018
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/09589236.2016.1188689
  • Title of Journal : JOURNAL OF GENDER STUDIES
  • Page Numbers: pp.177-191
  • Keywords: Ottoman women, print culture, feminist public sphere, women's journals


This article examines late nineteenth century and early twentieth century Muslim Ottoman women's journals. Drawing attention to the historical and social phenomenon of Ottoman Muslim women's print culture, the author argues that women's writings and activism around these journals functioned as a significant feminist public sphere that built a community of women's discourse. Women's journals established a real community of intellectual women writers and readers who overtly promoted a feminist agenda in the public sphere. Thus, they envisioned and created alternative roles for upper middle class and middle class Ottoman women. Contrary to the conventional narrative of Turkish feminism that identifies its origin with the Republican period, it was Ottoman women's periodicals and associations that laid the groundwork for future feminists in the Republican period. In providing an analysis of these magazines, the author explores a class of now nearly forgotten publications that, she argues, created a feminist discourse in their time.