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At Risk: Gender Studies in Turkey

University of Bremen researchers are providing insights into three decades of women’s and gender studies in Turkey. An exhibition at the Haus der Wissenschaft, a public talk held by the renowned gender researcher, Professor Andea Petö, and a summer school will take place at the start of July.

The photography exhibition “Courageous Women: Women’s and Gender Studies in Turkey’s Academia” will portray 26 female academics from the founding years of the discipline. The exhibition combines portrait photos of the scientists with core statements from their most important works. The women shown were pioneers of feminism in academia and played a significant role in the establishment of women’s and gender studies at Turkish universities. “If there are practical and research centers for women’s and gender studies at 100 Turkish universities today, then it is down to these women. They connected scientific success with political work”, said Professor Yasemin Karakaşoğlu. The educational scientist and turkologist, Prof. Karakaşoğlu, developed the project together with Dr. Sevgi Uçan Çubukçu, Dr. Charlotte Binder und Deniz Dağ in the frame of the “Women’s and Gender Studies at Universities in Türkey: Institutionalization and Transformation” research project, which has been running since 2017.

Exhibition Opening: July 4, 2019

The German and Turkish exhibition will be opened on Thursday, July 4, 2019 at 6 p.m. in the Haus der Wissenschaft (House of Science), Sandstraße 4/5, 28195 Bremen. It will remain open until the end of August. Professor Gülay Toksöz, one of the featured women’s and gender studies researchers, will also be in attendance and hold one of the many talks of the evening. Prior to being shown in Bremen, the travelling exhibition was in the Women’s Library and Information Center in Istanbul.

The exhibition fits in with the diverse activities by the University of Bremen concerning solidarity with persecuted scientists in and from Turkey. “We want to support the scientific communication between both countries, especially in times where scientific freedom is in danger. We are led by the belief that women’s and gender studies with their socially critical orientation can form the bridge between both scientific systems”, according to Karakaşoğlu. The project is financed by the Mercator Stiftung in the frame of their “Blickwechsel: Contemporary Turkey Studies” project.

Homage to Educational Pioneers

The “Courageous Women” exhibition is accompanied by the “100 Years Women at the University – Women’s University 1914-1919” exhibition at the Women’s Museum Istanbul. The latter tells the story of the successful fight of Ottoman women for the right to higher education. The double exhibition is to be seen as a homage to pioneers of equal admission rights to university education on the one hand and of pioneers of the feminist perspective on knowledge production and communication on the other hand.

A bridge to the most recent developments in the European gender studies debate is created with the public talk held by the renowned gender studies researcher, Professor Andrea Petö, from the Central European University in Budapest. The English talk with a discussion part covers a broader European perspective and looks to the future of gender research, which is being increasingly questioned by right-wing conservative to authoritarian governments. The talk is titled “Anti-Gender Mobilisation in European Academia: Why We All Need To Be Concerned?” and will take place on Wednesday, July 3, 2019 at 6 p.m. in the Olbers hall in the House of Science. Entry is free of charge.

Summer School for the Next Generation of Female Scientists

In the frame of the “Women’s and Gender Studies at Universities in Turkey” project, a one-week long summer school for the next generation of female scientists from Turkey and Germany will deal with the topic of “Women’s and Gender Studies in Turkey: The Past, Present and Future”. The feminist approach within women’s and gender studies in Turkey, which is oriented towards an uncompromising equality and visualization of women’s work in the past and the present, is seen as not being compatible with traditional values. It is for this reason that this field is regularly exposed to attacks. The aim of the summer school is to take a look at this situation and to support the research of the young women. The University of Bremen event program will be carried out in cooperation with the Women’s Museum Istanbul, the Administrative Unit 04: Equal Opportunity/Anti-Discrimination Office at the University of Bremen, belladonna e.V. and the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung in Bremen.

Further information: (in German only)


Prof. Dr. Yasemin Karakaşoğlu
Faculty of Pedagogy and Educational Sciences
Research Project “Comparing Women’s Movements in Different Cities in Turkey”
University of Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-60040

Die in der Ausstellung portraitierte Frauen- und Geschlechterforscherin Gülay Toksöz
In attendance at the exhibition opening in Bremen: The featured women’s and gender studies researcher, Gülay Toksöz