I came across this marvelous book series "Cultures in Dialogue" the other day, and wished I could park myself down immediately to see what had changed for American female expats living and writing in Turkey 100 years ago, and what was the same.
Here's how the series publishers describe it:
Cultures in Dialogue returns to print sources by women writers from the East and West. Series One considers the exchanges between Ottoman, British, and American women from the 1880s to the 1940s. Their varied responses to dilemmas such as nationalism, female emancipation, race relations and modernization in the context of the stereotypes characteristic of Western harem literature reframe the historical tensions between Eastern and Western cultures, offering a nuanced understanding of their current manifestations.Obviously, the Ottoman Empire is no more, so it would be impossible to see the Sultan at Yıldız Palace as Anna Bowman Dodd did.
Anna Bowman Dodd, the author pictured above, traveled throughout Istanbul and shared her impressions of household management, education, slavery, marriage, women's rights from a female travel writer's point-of-view.
The eternal conversation on cross-cultural female emancipation will still be occurring in some form 100 years from now. How interesting it would be to see the progress from 100 years back.
Even today, only 12% of Turkish women have been out of their country. How fun it would be to read Zeyneb Hanoum's impressions of Europe as she visited it at the turn of the last century or to read the memoirs of the famous feminist from the early Turkish Republic, Halide Edib.
So many books, so little time! Kudos to the publishers for bringing these historical voices back to the conversation.
You may also be interested in these posts:
#EnSonNeOkuyorsun What are you reading lately?
"My Little Library in Anatolia" by Kaya Genç
"The People Who Go"
Follow Empty Nest Expat on Facebook to ensure you'll never miss a post! See you there.