When Halide Edib published Ateşten Gömlek (The Daughter of Smyrna) in 1922, the Turkish nation was going
through dramatic socio-political change. The Ottoman Empire lost the First
World War in 1918, as a result, found herself in chaos, trauma, and an identity
crisis. Witnessing the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and foundation of the
Turkish Republic afterwards, as a feminist, activist, scholar, and
intellectual, Edib focused on the transformation from Empire to republic and
the reformation of the nation, reflecting the struggle between modernity and
tradition in her novels. Questioning hegemony, authority, and conventional
gender roles, Edib attempted to define a new role for women in Turkish society
through her revolutionary female characters identified with herself.
Islam, one of the world’s widely
practiced religions, seems to be surrounded with many myths and misconceptions.
This paper will take a closer scope to women rights in Islam. It is claimed by
many that Islam has been perceived as an oppressor for females and a main
source of humiliation to them. The current saddening cases of women oppression
in the Arab world, where the largest majority of the Muslim population reside,
seem to support those misconceptions. This paper attempts to unleash the myth
around the fact that the oppressive acts of the Arabian societies against women
have cultural and not religious roots.
The term Islamic feminism has been widely
used and variously defined by several feminists and women activists. Where on the one hand it is considered
oxymoronic for some Muslim feminists, it is understood as religious term for
others. This presentation focuses on my journey of understanding and
interpreting the term Islamic feminism. Drawing from the theoretical framework
of my dissertation entitled, Theorizing Libyan Feminism: Poetic Representation
of Libyan Muslim Women’s Experiences, this presentation aims to facilitate the
voice of Libyan women and make it accessible to wider audiences.