“Gendered Nostalgia: Neo-Ottomanism in Islamist Women’s Journals and Magazines in Turkey”
Dr. Petek Onur,
Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies,
University of Copenhagen
Tuesday, November 22, 2022, 12:30 p.m., A-130
Neo-Ottomanism as a political ideology and vision has been a major component of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) politics in Turkey, particularly since 2007. It aims to revitalize the glory of the Ottoman Empire in contemporary Turkey with a nationalist, Islamist, and patriarchal reinterpretation of history and has become a legitimation ground for authoritarianism. Reflections of neo-Ottomanism have also been visible in daily life, popular culture, and media. In this seminar, I will present the findings of my research, which studies how neo-Ottomanism is reproduced in five different Islamist women’s journals and magazines, which reach pious women from various religious, cultural, and economic backgrounds. The research aims to understand the creative agencies of the women editors and authors of the publications in reproducing, aestheticizing, and popularizing neo-Ottomanism. It asks how they visually and rhetorically mediatize historical narratives by interlacing them with Islamic nostalgia, and what the mediatization process tell us about the gendered nature of neo-Ottomanism and its cultural manifestations. The qualitative methodology comprises visual and discursive analysis of the relevant content covering the period 2007-2021 and in-depth interviews with the editors and authors. I conclude that references to Ottoman history is part of a new Turkish-Islamic identity building process and a source of lifestyle choices. Restorative nostalgia, aestheticization, and claims of authenticity in the contents guide the readers and present an imagery of a safe home, a shelter or a palace to protect them from threats of globalization and social transformations by delineating appropriate gender roles.
Petek Onur is a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies, University of Copenhagen. She received her PhD from Department of Sociology at Middle East Technical University, Turkey with the thesis entitled “Changing Discourse on Women and Islam in Turkey in Ethnographic Studies”. She received Sabancı University, Gender and Women’s Studies Center of Excellence, 2018 Şirin Tekeli Research Award with her research “Yeni Osmanlı Kına Geceleri ve Saray Nostaljisi İçinde Kadınlar” (“New Ottoman Henna Nights and Women in Palace Nostalgia”). She is the author of “The Politics of Nostalgia: The New Urban Culture in Ankara’s Historic Neighbourhoods” in The Politics of Culture in Contemporary Turkey edited by P. Hecker, I. Furman and K. Akyıldız, published by Edinburgh University Press (2022) and co-editor of the forthcoming volume Neo-Ottoman Imaginaries in Contemporary Turkey with Catharina Raudvere published by Palgrave Macmillan. She was an assistant professor at Department of Sociology at Başkent University in 2018-2020 until she started her project “Gendered Nostalgia: Neo-Ottomanism in Islamist Women’s Media in Turkey”, which is funded by EC Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowships. Her fields of research include gender, Islam, nostalgia, urban culture, nostalgia and neo-Ottomanism.