Graduation Year

2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

History

Major Professor

Tamara Zwick

Co-Major Professor

Huseyin Yilmaz

Keywords

Ataturk, Halide Edib, India, Nationalism, Speeches, State

Abstract

Halide Edib positioned herself as a main agent and figure of the Turkish nationalist movement, as both visionary and defender of her nation. Contributing to the evolving discourse on what it meant to be Turkish; Edib placed the family at the center of the state and identified women as state-builders. Through her interpretation of Turkish nationalism, I argue that Edib obscured the division between the public and private realm and classified women as agents in the creation of the Republic. I further contend that by doing this she contributed to the legitimization of Turkey on an international scale. This thesis focuses on the speeches Halide Edib delivered at the university Jamia Millia Islamia in New Delhi in 1935. These particular speeches are significant because they work towards a legitimization of Turkey, still in its infancy, as a nation, by addressing the "woman question." Halide Edib's view of a "new nation" and a "new woman" articulated in these speeches challenged contemporary views on women in a society at a political and cultural crossroads, overwhelmingly dominated by men.The power dynamics within the family and society at large are nuanced by Halide Edib's understanding of Turkish women's part in the national process during the formative years of the Turkish Republic. She depicted women as agents of nationalism and creators of the state. In doing this, she challenged both the ideological and applied position of women in the private realm, through her own discursive understanding of nationalism. Edib's definition of nationalism included the tenets of gender relations, family, and Islam and described each as a necessary component of a successful state.

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