Tenuous boundaries: women, domesticity and nationhood in 1930s Turkey
Journal of Architecture
229 - 244
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In the 1930s modern architecture was highly popularised in Turkey mostly through the widespread promotion of the modern house. In the early stages of nation building, the modern house became one of the most potent symbols of the modern nation, which aspired to enter the European economic, cultural and political milieu as an equal partner. The image of the modern Turkish woman played a somewhat similar role, her increasing access to various aspects of the public sphere being highly publicised as the success of Turkish modernisation. Despite obvious links between women and architecture, ranging from their active promotion as suitable images for the new nation to the physical appearance of women in public spaces, issues of gender and sexuality remained conspicuously absent from the architectural historiography of modern Turkey. In this paper, I offer critical readings of contemporaneous representations that relate the modern house and modern Turkish woman to uncover the complicated and contradictory levels that constitute the seemingly coherent narrative of architectural and cultural modernisation. The analysis of the relationship between sexuality, space and architectural discourse effectively complicates the architectural historiography of modern Turkey and shows the active participation of architecture in the production of the social/cultural realm. © 2002 The Journal of Architecture.