Accepted paper:

Constructing a Free Woman's Body in Modern Turkish Literature


Zehra Guven Kilicarslan (Indiana University)

Paper abstract:

In the concept of gender, power produces the types of women's body which patriarchal society requires through power's principle mechanisms, "surveillance" and "gaze." The acquisitions of this mechanism are the following: Women's body is habituated the external regulation, it optimizes its capabilities, it extorts its forces, it increases its usefulness and docility, and it integrates it into the system. As a result, a disindividualized woman's body is created. However, as Foucault suggests, power does not only operate through domination or oppression as the common knowledge, it also operates through the experience of resistance. In other words, "it creates new possibilities, produces new things, ideas, and relations; this is akin to what feminists call 'empowerment'". In this paper, I will focus on the body and show the relationship of power with the body and the reflection of this in the literary texts written by Turkish women writers. In doing so, I will try to find answers to the questions: How does power disindividualize a woman's body? In other words, what kind of disciplinary mechanisms does power produce to disindividualize women's bodies? How do women resist this in literature? Are they able to construct a free/empowered woman's body? If so, what narrative strategies do they use?

panel LIT-06
Gender, Identity, Multiculturalism