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Unfolding republican patriarchy : the case of young Kurdish women at the girls vocational boarding school in Elazig

Yeşil, Sevim
The purpose of the thesis is to analyze the inclusion of the Kurdish women in the modernization and nation-building processes of Turkey, and to understand how they experienced these processes. Regarding the issue, although the literature reflects how the educated, urban, upper class, Turkish women experienced these processes, the experiences of women from different ethnic and religious groups and lower classes have not been studied yet. Therefore, this study aims to discuss the experiences of women from different ethnic-religious backgrounds with a feminist approach. In this thesis, I analyzed the transformation of the pre-Republican modernization/Westernization process into a nation-building construction process in the Republican period, and also the integration of women in general into this new process. I executed a research on The Elazig Girls̕ Boarding Vocational School, founded under the Elazig Girls̕ Institute in 1937, in order to explore how Kurdish people were affected by these modernization/Westernization and national-building construction processes and how Kurdish women were involved in these processes through the mediation of education. The thesis has the following three conclusions: First, the school had achieved its mission of the integration of these women into the Turkish culture by the adaptation of the Turkish language and culture by them. Second, the school had become successful in its objective of making these women adapt the ideal Republican woman identity and become the representatives of the Republican ideology. Third, these women experienced such an adaptation process generally not traumatically.