Comparative Feminism, Postmodernism, Postcolonialism: Gender and Sexual Identity in Contemporary Turkish Literature and Culture

full name / name of organization: 
Jaspal K. Singh, Mary Lou O'Neil and Şehnaz Şişmanoğlu Şimşek (Northern Michigan Universtiy and Kadir Has University)

Call for Papers (Deadline 1st May, 2012)

Comparative Feminism, Postmodernism, Postcolonialism: Gender and Sexual Identity in Contemporary Turkish Literature and Culture

We seek chapter proposals for our forthcoming anthology to be published in Spring 2013. Turkey is considered a space where there is a perfect balance of Eastern and Western cultural mores and traditions, but one can see conflicts and contradictions within various texts depicting gender and sexual identity constructions. Despite nearly a century of reform and advancement toward equality for women, there is a disjuncture between the ideology of modernism and the implementation of it. Upon its foundation as a nation state, Turkey embarked upon a state- centered elite driven path toward modernization and Westernization which, at the same time, sought to produce a monolithic culture. In recent years, this model of state-centered secular modernity has come under intense scrutiny and criticism as Islamists, Kurds and other minorities pressed their claims for recognition in the public sphere and force a rethinking of current understandings of Turkish identity and subjectivity.

These controversies, contradictions, and ambiguities are reflected in women's lives and are indeed waged over women's bodies by various factions. How are these disjunctures and contradictions reflected in modern Turkish literature and the media? Who writes about women and how are they depicted? Turkish television continues to portray women's bodies as commodified and sexualized in order to sell products. These representations of rampant sexuality in music videos and commercials do not reflect the current material reality of the women in households and Turkish society. How are women rewriting themselves from being objects to subjects? Do women still feel solidarity and communal ties with each others in the modern and urban spaces, or are they increasingly isolated? What are the new formations of gender identity that are emerging? How are women reaching across what were previously seemingly unbridgable gaps to claim more than one identity space? How are the women in these intersections creating new identities for themselves?

How about minority and immigrant women and their rights? Are there representations of the LBGTQQ community members, even if they are "invisible" in Turkish culture? How are Muslims, who continue to observe the headscarves, viewed? How do they view themselves? Can feminisms in Turkey accommodate Islam and /or observant women within its definitions and conceptualizations? Can Islam reconcile itself with feminism? How are secular identities being redefined in a post-secular globalized world? How do all of the ideological flux and flow impact ideas of feminism and the creation of new understandings of feminism in Turkey?

These and other issues will be considered for inclusion in the anthology. We welcome essays that analyze the repertoire of texts - fiction, biographies, films, documentaries, poetry, short stories, and so forth—that are engaged with examining issues of gender identity from feminist, postmodern and postcolonial perspectives.

Please send a 250 word abstract, along with a one page CV by 1st May 2012, to jsingh@nmu.edu, mloneil@khas.edu.tr, sehnaz.sismanoglu@khas.edu.tr

The editors are published scholars of a monograph, anthologies, and critical articles. Essays selected for inclusion in the final volume will be peer-reviewed by specialists in the field.

Jaspal K. Singh, Ph.D.
Distinguished Professor, English Department
Northern Michigan University
Marquette, MI 49844, USA

Mary Lou O'Neil
Department of American Culture and Literature
Kadir Has University
Cibali 34083
Istanbul, Turkey

Şehnaz Şişmanoğlu Şimşek
Turkish Language and Literature Coordinator
Kadir Has University
Cibali 34083
Istanbul, Turkey