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Elif Akin Ak?it

Feminist Utopias: The Memoirs of Mualla Eyübo?lu


Women's role in the Village Institutes has not been the subject of intense scrutiny so far. The memoirs of Mualla Eyübo?lu (1919-2009) provide us ground to develop an understanding of this role from the point of view of an architect, as well as of teachers, students, and villagers. Her work, perspective, and marriage carry the experience of village institutes beyond borders and nation-states. In this presentation, a spatial as well as a historical analysis of the period and these schools will be provided. I will place this analysis in the context of feminist utopias, which I have previously discussed in relation to Fatma Aliye's works. It is not the confinement of women to inner spaces that makes them invisible, our own theoretical negligence in evaluating women's historical contributions to creating long-lasting and widespread settings for living ironically feeds this invisibility. Pursuing the theme of feminist utopias in Eyubo?lu's writings, supported by those of her brothers, who also contributed greatly to the village institutes, transforming the public–private distinction will be possible in the most unexpected areas. With the theme of "returning home" I will also develop the feminist interest in utopias as best put forth by Ursula K. Le Guin.

Ask, September 2012

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