Translated by Ege ÖZTOKAT

Istanbul University Political Sciences Associate Professor Dr. Ayten Alkan compiled the book “Places by Gender” which is released by the publication firm Varlık and contains 13 articles about the relations between many places in our lives and their genders. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Alkan specializes on subjects such as urban theories, local governments, environmental studies and feminist theories. Explaining the preparation phase of the book, she said: “I was having a hard time when I started working on urban places’ gender asymmetry or gender inequalities’ basis. Back then, there were not many studies in Turkey concerning these subjects. So my first resources were all generated in the occident. In time, Turkey also started to fill this vacancy. This compilation gathered an important part of the works and Turkey’s accumulation on the subject formed during the past 15 years.”

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Alkan stated that the relations of urban places with gender in the academic platforms is weak compared to other areas such as political sciences. She added “This relative weakness is related to social sciences and the history of gender studies. The fact that places and environmental relationships is a social issue was theorized with delay.”

“Places Changed Meaning with Women’s Struggle”

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Alkan said that the meaning contributed to places differentiated both geographically and historically and explained: “The meaning changes as the social patterns transform. For example, from the Ottoman Empire to the Republic, there were diffractions alongside consistencies. There were periods of time where there were restrictions in the Ottoman Empire that restricted women’s place in the cities which didn’t exist in the Republic. On the other hand, the Turkish Republic didn’t part ways with patriarchal tradition. For example, the civil code legislating many basic inequalities didn’t change until 2002. During these decades we observe that the woman is still defined with domestic spaces. Still, the spaces forbidden to women decreased progressively. Of course, this happened thanks to women’s fight.”

The Work Contains 13 Articles by 15 Writers

The book discusses how the places such as coffee places, bazaars, shopping malls, Turkish baths and apartments gain meaning in the gender context. The book starts with Assoc. Prof. Dr. Alkan’s article “Tracing Places Following Gender Dynamics” and contains 13 articles by 15 writers.