Changing Identities in Ottoman Context: The National «Self» and the «Other» in 19th Century Greek Women’s Writings

Katerina Dalakoura


The paper acts as an editorial of the thematic issue «Education in Southeastern Europe: From Empires to Nation-States», in which is included. It explores the constructions/reconstructions of collective national identities within the Ottoman Empire, for the period of the 1840s until the end of the 19th century, focusing on the Ottoman Greek case. Given that women’s education emerges as an ethnic/ national project in the discourses throughout the period under research, the study based on the works of three women intellectuals concerning women and women’s education, examines the conceptualizations of «nation» and the changing images of national «selves» and «others». The concepts of «East»/ «Orient»/ «Ottoman» and «West» are also studied as connected with the nation and its position in the respective imagined communities. The women whose works are studied as representative of the different discourses and multiple conceptualizations of the notions aforementioned are: Eufrosyne Samartzidou (1820-1877), editor of the first women’s journal published in the Ottoman territories [Kypseli (1845)], Sappho Leontias (1830-1900), and Kalliope Kehagia (1839-1905), both celebrated educators, writers and intellectual. The paper concludes by associating its analyses and conclusions with the topic of the issue, and presenting the papers included.


changing identities; national «self»; national «other»; Ottoman Empire; Ottoman Greek women’s identities

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