A case study of women instructors and their education in the reign of Abdulhamid II

Karabekmez M.

PAEDAGOGICA HISTORICA, vol.53, pp.71-79, 2017 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 53
  • Publication Date: 2017
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/00309230.2016.1243137
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.71-79
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: Yes


This study demonstrates how the cultural role of Ottoman women began to change during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries as well as considering emerging conflicts due to their altering roles in society as they were educated in the Darulmuallimat (teachers' college for women) and acquired social positions as woman instructors. The first phase of the study is about schooling for women in the late Ottoman Empire and how women became teachers. The work mentions an interesting historical document which shows the relationship between a female instructor and a director of education (maarif muduru) in Trabzon. This document also points to the disturbances aroused by these changes in women's social status which needed to be reconstructed. It indicates how the government took measures to preserve the existing norms as women became more visible in the community and reminded them that their first responsibility was always about preserving their chastity and esteem. The first woman teachers to commence participating in the public sphere were effective at shaping and structuring culture in the Ottoman Empire; thus they should be investigated in terms of their social roles and their effects on cultural transformation as well. The case of Macide Hanm is considered in the cultural, economic, and political contexts of late Ottoman history with an emphasis on women's education and modifying social roles. The study was carried out by scrutinising historical documents in the Prime Ministry Ottoman Archives, especially documents in the maarif mektubi kalemi section.