Conceptualizing intersectionality as a methodological tool in the analysis of 19th century western women travelogues

Creative Commons License

Dell'abate Çelebi L. B.

RumeliDE Dil ve Edebiyat Araştırmaları Dergisi, no.6, pp.188-196, 2019 (Peer-Reviewed Journal)


My paper aims to reflect on a methodology that could help to further deepen the critical analysis of travelogues written by western women visiting and writing about Ottoman Turkey during the 19th century highlighting their dual position as “colonized by gender but colonizer by race” (Ghose, 1998). This research draws deeply from Edward Said’s seminal work Orientalism (1978) and tries to work towards filling up a gap left by the late Said in his study: the issue of gender. My paper intends to show that gender is a salient variable that assumes importance in the interaction with discursive constraints, related to imperialism, femininity, authority, aesthetics, publishing etc. and at the same time needs to be weighted in respect to the deep heterogeneity that characterized women travelers, different by nationality, faith, class, marital status, education, political and social ideology. By showing the broad and composite spectrum of perspectives envisaged by women writers, their position as both oppressors and at the intersection of multiple oppressions, this paper argues for a more complex methodology of analysis of both gender and colonialism, where women travel writings can be located at the intersection of shifting and multiple overlapping circles. This complexity needs more sophisticated instruments of analysis that can be envisaged in the methodological tool of intersectionality, intended as the examination of the intersection of multiple forms of discrimination.