Gender, Ethnicity and the Nation-State: Anatolia and Its Neighboring Regions

Call for Papers for Hrant Dink Memorial Workshop 2009

Gender, Ethnicity and the Nation-State:
Anatolia and Its Neighboring Regions

May 21-24, 2009

Sabanci University – Istanbul

We are pleased to announce our second workshop in memory of Hrant Dink. The
theme of this year’s workshop is “Gender, Ethnicity and the Nation-State:
Anatolia and Its Neighboring Regions,” focusing on the moments of
transformation in gender relations and ethnic identity during both the
construction of nation-states and their various transformation(s) throughout
the 20th century.

Gender and ethnicity have been key categories of differentiation and
conflict in nationalisms and nation-states, interacting with each other in
multiple ways. Although nationalisms and nation-states typically claim
equality as their basic organizing principle, the past century is marked by
tensions in definitions and practices of gender and ethnicity. These
tensions have taken violent forms during times of war and ethnic conflict,
and have undergone transformations in response to processes of
state-building, breakdown of states, socialism and postsocialism, forced or
voluntary migrations within and across nation-states, democratization, and
the proliferation of social movements incuding feminist, LGBTT (Lesbian,
Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual and Transgender), and religious movements.
Towards the end of the 20th century, globalization has triggered the crisis
of the nation-state and its discourses, and the increasing prominence of
supranational and subnational political processes have generated new
conceptualizations of gender and ethnicity.

The goal of this year’s workshop is to shed light on and problematize the
multiple ways in which constructions and transformations of gender and
ethnicity in and beyond nation-states have shaped Anatolia and its
neighboring regions in the 20th century. Papers that examine contemporary
transformations along the lines of gender and ethnicity are particularly
welcome. Yet we are also interested in rethinking the transformation from
empire to nation-state earlier in the century.

The turn of the 20th century was marked by radical changes in men’s and
women’s lives in the Ottoman Empire. Established understandings of
masculinity and femininity were challenged and redefined at the same time as
ethnicity gained ground as an organizing political principle. The histories
of this period have been dominated by Orientalist and nationalist
scholarship. To this day, for instance, “Ottoman history” is often assumed
to refer to “Turkish-Muslim” history and, in Turkey, statements that depict
“the first novel”, “the first woman novelist”, “the first time women gained
access to education”, and so on, disregard the non-Muslim subjects of the
Ottoman Empire and their public participation. Public and scholarly debates
over how to account for the violent transformations of the 1910s and 1920s
continue to be polarized. In recent years, a growing body of literature has
challenged both the Orientalist and nationalist frameworks of earlier
historiographies. Yet, there are surprisingly few studies that are able to
move beyond methodological nationalism: histories of Armenian women, Turkish
women, Kurdish women, Arab women, Greek women, and so on, exist as parallel,
non-intersecting histories. There are even fewer studies that analyze
masculinities, sexualities, and gender relations at large.

Drawing on Hrant Dink’s legacy of exploring our “shared” histories, as well
as our shared present and future, our aim in this workshop is to go beyond
such methodological nationalism. We seek to encourage, instead, a debate on
the contexts of differentiation (and unification) along gender and ethnic
lines. We welcome all papers that explore the ways in which definitions and
practices of gender and ethnicity have together shaped and have been shaped
in turn by political and economic transformations in Anatolia and its
neighboring regions from the early 20th into the 21st century.

Application deadline is March 1, 2009.

To send an abstract, please download the application form on our website:
Organizing Committee

Ak�in Somel
Ay�e Kad�o�lu
Ay�e G�l Alt�nay
Fikret Adan�r
H�lya Adak
I��k �zel
Lanfranco Aceti
Leyla Keough
Nedim Nomer

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