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Katerina Dalakoura

Two Women Transferring Western Educational Practices to the Ottoman-Greek System


The proposed paper examines the role of Ottoman Greek women pedagogues, as meaningful actors in transferring educational knowledge and practice from Western countries, diffusing and applying them to the education system of Ottoman Greeks - and more precisely to Greek women’s education - during the second half of the 19th century. The paper is based on the study of two celebrated Greek women educators, namely Sappho Leontias (1832-1900), and Kalliopi Kechagia (1839-1905), whose educational activity influenced and shaped Greek women’s education system in the Greek communities within the Ottoman Empire.

More precisely S. Leontias turned out a leading figure for Greek women’s education throughout the Ottoman Empire, by influencing women’s education through her educational works and translations, her textbooks and articles on education, and the schools she organized in Smyrna, Istanbul, Samos. K. Kechagia was a prestigious and powerful educator within the Greek Community of Istanbul as well as in Athens (Greek state). She run the most prestigious Greek school for girls in the Ottoman Empire, the ‘Zappeion school for Girls’ in Istanbul, and the first woman inspector for the secondary schools for girls in the Greek state.

The Western countries the two pedagogues turned to, seeking for educational models, were different: France and German for S. Leontias, England and USA for K. Kechagia. However both chose to put in practice and/or translate the educational theory and works of women pedagogues, instead of men pedagogues’ works (e.g. Mme Necker de Saussure and Marie Pape Carpentier’s practices and works, instead of Froebel’s that were very influential at the time and applied in preschool education in the Greek state).

The paper explores the historical conditions of the space, within which the afore-mentioned women pedagogues performed their activity as well as the parameters which affected their educational ‘choices’, and the forces and constrains that structured their practice.

AsK, September 2012

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