A Century of Gender Equality Struggles in Turkey: Feminist History Revisited

Call for Papers for the Special Issue


  A Century of Gender Equality Struggles in Turkey:

Feminist History Revisited


Editors: Dr. Elife Biçer-Deveci (ETH Zurich), Dr. Selin Çağatay (CEU)


Nakiye Elgün (1882-1954), first woman parliamentarian in Turkey, giving a speech about women’s political rights in Turkey on December 7, 1934, at the Beyazıt Square in İstanbul.


To be published in:

GTOT/ Diyâr. Journal of Ottoman, Turkish and Middle Eastern Studies: 100 Years of the Republic of Turkey and the Engineering of a Nation.


October 2023 will witness the centenary of the Republic of Turkey. On this occasion, we invite young scholars and established historians to revisit feminist history and reflect on the hundred years of modern Turkish history from the perspective of gender equality struggles. With this special issue, we wish to present novel research, cutting edge perspectives, and conceptual advances in feminist historiography of Turkey. Drawing on recent developments in women’s and gender studies towards more inclusive, de-centred and transnational accounts of feminist and LGBTI+ activism (Canning 2006; Cobble 2005; de Haan 2018; Hunt 2009; Laughlin et al. 2010; Motta et al. 2011; Orr and Braithwaite 2011; Roy 2016; Sangster and Luxton 2013), we seek contributions that examine gender equality struggles from a long-term perspective or with a focus on a specific period, and those that inquire into the interaction between national, sub-national and supra-national processes in gender politics.

With the term ‘gender equality struggles,’ we refer to all kinds of social and political activism (formal and informal, collective and individual) with an agenda of equal access of women and LGBTI+ people to the realms of economy, society, politics as well as cultural practices. At the same time, we set out to explore how the contested notion of ‘gender equality’ was shaped by various actors over time and different political projects existing side by side, such as feminist and antifeminist movements, competing over its definition (Kandiyoti 2011; Özcan 2020). Similarly, we have a broad understanding of activism that include not only collective, institutionalized, and contentious forms of activism and/or women-only organising, but also mix-gender organising, community-oriented efforts, and minor strategies of resistance for equality and liberation.

In recent years, significant contributions in women’s and gender history in Turkey investigated previously unexplored topics, destabilised established paradigms, and utilised new sources and methodologies (Akgöz 2020; Azak and Smaele 2016; Çakır-Kılınçoğlu 2019; Davaz 2014; 2020; Pervan 2013; Sarıtaş and Akıllı 2015; Satı 2016; Tuncer 2018). Such contributions, however, are yet to be systematically analysed or brought together in anthologies, edited volumes, or journal issues – which is the aim of this special issue. At a time when gender equality and sexual rights are under attack and feminist research is jeopardised in Turkey and globally, we believe that a reassessment of feminist history is necessary to show the multiplicity of gender equality struggles throughout republican history across the categories of class, ethnicity, religion, and cultural belonging.


We expect original research papers dealing with, but not limited to, the following issues:

  • Struggles for equality among non-Turkish, non-Muslim, and migrant communities
  • Impact of global gender equality agendas on gender politics and equality struggles
  • Strategies of resistance and empowerment within small communities (e.g. family, workplace, village, province)
  • Cross-cultural aspects and concepts in women’s and gender history
  • Emotional histories of gender equality struggles
  • Women in social movements and social justice struggles
  • LGBTI+ and queer histories
  • Struggles around sexuality (including sex work)
  • Reproductive rights and politics of motherhood


We particularly welcome papers that expand the field of women’s and gender history in the following directions: documentation of cross-border activism, influence, and exchange; inclusion of understudied groups, time periods, and forms of activism; and cross-cultural and comparative analyses.

A publication-oriented workshop is planned take place on July 8–9, 2022. Depending on the availability of funding and the Covid-19 pandemic situation, the workshop will be held in person in Zurich or Vienna with the possibility of online participation or fully online.

Articles will be submitted as part of the special issue “A Century of Gender Equality Struggles in Turkey: Feminist History Revisited” to the academic journal Diyâr: Journal of Ottoman, Turkish and Middle Eastern Studies on 15 September 2022. Upon submission, a peer-review process will ensue.


Please submit your abstract and short bio to elife.bicerdeveci@gmw.gess.ethz.ch and cagatays@ceu.edu by 28 February 2022. Abstracts should be 500 words maximum and include the title of the paper, aim of your research, and some words about your methodological approach and empirical data.



  • 28 February 2022: Submission of abstract and short bio
  • 25 March 2022: Communication of decision on abstracts and invitation to workshop
  • 15 June 2022: Submission of draft papers
  • 8–9 July 2022: Publication-oriented workshop in (depending on funding possibilities) Zurich, or Vienna, in-person, hybrid or online conference
  • 15 August 2022: Submission of revised papers to editors
  • 15 September 2022 – 15 January 2023: Revision and second round if review
  • 15 January 2023: Submission of final manuscripts to Diyâr
  • 29 October 2023: Publication of the special issue


For any questions and concerns, please send an email to elife.bicerdeveci@gmw.gess.ethz.ch and cagatays@ceu.edu.

We look forward to receiving your abstracts!