Fatma Aliye: At the Intersection of Secular and Islamic Feminism

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Dell Abate Çelebi L. B.

WOMEN'S STUDIES, vol.2022, no.2022, pp.1-18, 2022 (AHCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 2022 Issue: 2022
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/00497878.2022.2081852
  • Journal Name: WOMEN'S STUDIES
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, IBZ Online, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, Periodicals Index Online, American History and Life, Communication & Mass Media Index, Film & Television Literature Index, Gender Studies Database, Historical Abstracts, Humanities Abstracts, MLA - Modern Language Association Database, Political Science Complete
  • Page Numbers: pp.1-18
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: Yes


This paper analyzes the figure of the Ottoman writer Fatma Aliye (1862-1936) and her apparent contradictory position as both proto-feminist and conservative religious advocate. Conflicting evaluations have been given by critics of Fatma Aliye’s novels and of her personal position as defender of both woman’s agency and of the traditional precepts of Islam. This paper intends to contextualize her thought in the specific circumstances of her lifetime  and show that Modern Turkey’s polarization between secularism and Islamism was not present in her time but were interconnected and blended. Fatma Aliye, as a daughter of her time, shares both elements and in so doing destabilizes many certainties and opens new avenues to the inclusion of feminism, secularism and Islamism as non-divisive elements of Turkish national identity.