LECTURE: Rethinking Gender and Travel Writing: British and Turkish Women in Transcultural Dialogue at the Turn of the Twentieth Century

28 November 2018 19:00 to 21:00 | Ankara

The British Institute at Ankara, The British Institute at Ankara, Wolfson Foundation Conference Room, 06690

A BIAA Lecture by Peter Cherry (Assistant Professor in the Department of Turkish Literature at Bilkent University - BIAA postdoctoral Fellow 2017-18. 

Discussant: Şima İmşir (Assistant Professor, Istanbul Şehir University)

In scholarship on the literary commerce between Western Europe and the Ottoman Empire, the voices of women writers have traditionally been marginalised. In this talk, Peter Cherry reclaims such voices and their transcultural literary exchanges by examining the conversation between two women writers who challenged ‘East’ and ‘West’ binaries at the turn of the century. The encounter between Hadidjé Zennour and Grace Ellison lead to a number of literary collaborations, including the mutual editing of writing projects aimed at both British and Turkish reading audiences. Ellison was instrumental in the publication of Hadidje Zenour’s A Turkish Woman’s European Impressions (1913; under the Anglicised pseudonym Zeynep Hanoum); while Zeynep Hanoum contributed to Ellison’s writing on Turkey in her volume An Englishwoman in a Turkish Harem (1915). 

This event is part of the BIAA lecture series on Late Ottoman, Early Republican and Contemporary Turkish History. This year's series explores the theme 'Gender, Culture and Politics'.

Peter Cherry (BA Goldsmiths,  MSc & PhD University of Edinburgh) is Assistant Professor in the Department of Turkish Literature at Bilkent University. Before joining Bilkent, Peter held a postdoctoral fellowship at the British Institute at Ankara where he began his ongoing research into British-Turkish literary exchange in the twentieth century. His monograph entitled Muslim Masculinities: Migration and Transcultural Identity in Britainis due to be published by I.B. Tauris in 2021.


Şima İmşir is an assistant professor in the Department of English Language and Literature at Istanbul Sehir University. She received her BA degree from the Department of Comparative Literature at Istanbul Bilgi University and her MA degree from the Department of Women Studies at Istanbul University. Having received School of Arts, Languages and Cultures fund from the University of Manchester, she completed her PhD at the University of Manchester and taught as a teaching assistant between 2013-2018. Her PhD research examined ideological and discursive constructions of diseases in women writers’ fiction in Turkish in the twentieth century by looking at a variety of genres from melodramas to modernist fiction. Her research interests include biopolitics, medical humanities, disability studies, gender, history of social Darwinism, 19th and 20th century British literature, 20th century Turkish literature and postcolonial theory

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