[-empyre-] Declaration of Sentiments/Gün ISEA2011

Claudia Pederson ccp9 at cornell.edu
Fri Sep 23 02:21:24 EST 2011

Declaration of Sentiments/Gün: Edited and organized by Arzu Ozkal and
Claudia Pederson. Contributions by Asli Akıncı Alper, Berna Ekal, Basak
Senova, Burçak Bingöl, Chantal Zakari, Güneli Gün, Iz Öztat, Nazenin
Tokusoglu, Nazmiye Halvasi, Nilbar Guures, Meltem Isık, Övül Durmusoglu,
Özlem Özkal

Info on the project at: http://contrary.info/g.n/

Declaration of Sentiments/Gün book was presented

September 13-15, 2011, at Gallery 5533, Istanbul

September 16, Gün meeting including collaborators and ISEA guests.

September 17, 2011
Short: Circuit - Cross Border Communications in New Media Between US and
chaired by Patrick Lichty
with Ali Miharbi, Eden Ünlüata, Claudia Pederson, Burak Arikan, Iz Öztat,
Chantal Zakari
Sabancı Center, Levent campus, Room 3

September 18, 2011
1:00 - 2:30 pm
Mind The Gap <http://isea2011.sabanciuniv.edu/panel/mind-gap> panel
discussion with
Kerry Doyle, Karin Hansson, Chantal Zakari, Claudia Costa Pederson, Arzu
Ozkal, The WRMC Collaborative
moderated by Alexia Mellor
Sabancı University, Levent campus, Room 4

The project is a collaboration between 16 Turkish women (I'm the exception)
working in the fields of journalism, political activism, music, visual arts,
performance, literature, and electronic media. Collaborators are based in
the United States, Europe, and Turkey. In concept and form Gün is a network.
Gün is a Turkish word meaning day and referencing women-only groups, part of
social relations in Turkey and today among the diasporas. The gün takes many
forms, usually consisting of a group of women friends taking turns hosting
these gatherings in their homes, which take place weekly or monthly and
serve as a time/space devoted to plesurable exchanges between women,
involving food, conversation, games, crafts, gossip, and sometimes money. In
short, güns are forms of networks specific to gendered* spaces within
Turkish culture. *The project began a year ago in response to this year's
ISEA's location in Istanbul and theme of “networking.” The concept places a
focus on the etymology of the concept of network as materials and systems
fashioned “in the manner of a net,” thus emphacizing interrelations and
connections. In practice, the work involves online exchanges between
participants, with each woman contributing work related to the gün as a
social/cultural form-- a handle for research into the ideas, conditions, and
aspirations framing the positions of women in Turkey and Turkish women
living and working abroad. Some of the participants involved met in Istanbul
to discuss the book and its next phase. Some of the women attending ISEA
from Australia, Britain, and Canada came to the event to share their work
with women in their own practice. As it now stands, the work included in the
gün reflects the specificity of its network form as a site of
individual/social formation historically evolving with notions of f*
emininity* and feminism specific to Turkish women. Many of the contributions
speak of the hybridity and contrasting nature of these notions in today's
Turkish culture as both sources of ambivalence and pride, as well as reflect
on notions of feminism specific to countries where many of the women
participants reside. For instance, the book begins with a visit to the
Women's Rights National Park at Seneca Falls near the Wesleyan chapel where
the declaration of women's rights was discussed and formally adopted in
1848. The site of the museum in upstate New York is part of the former
Iroquois territory that included what is today upstate and central New York.
Needless to say, this event is internationally known and cherished among
feminists the world over. We note the museum's ommition of the influence of
the Iroquois nation on women's rights. Feminists involved in the drafting of
the Declaration of Sentiments were aware of the social, cultural, and
political standing of Iroquois women, which they cited as a model for their
vision of an egalitarian society. Iroquois women had the right to elect the
chief and to speak on political matters, including war, enjoyed religious
rights, the right over property, the right to divorce, as well as the right
to her children, who traced their lineage through the mother. Feminists
discussed the equal standing of women within the Iroquois six nations in
magazines and newspapers, regularly citing the superiority of “savage law”
over English law adopted by the former colonized North Americans, which
denied women all rights and consequently brought on regressive impact on
Iroquois women. The disappearance of any mention of this in feminist
histories is attributed to the movement's conservative turn calculated as a
means to attain the right to vote. In the book, parallels are drawn with the
development of Turkish feminism emerging in the modern era with the rise of
the republic and state feminism.

The project is in process, with a planned bilingual book, which will be
expanded to address issues and questions raised at the meeting in Istanbul.
We will be uploading part of the existing documentation to the project's
website shortly, and keep you posted.

A side note on ISEA and the Gün: Because the women involved in the project
are familiar with the 'guarded' spaces of Turkish universities, we decided
beforehand to meet outside of ISEA, as not all the women would be able to
attend because they wouldn't be registered for the conference. Because of
this ISEA ommited any reference to the Gün Workshop in its catalogue,
without any consultation. In addition, we requested and were promised a
table at the conference to display and distribute the book to ISEA
participants, which failed to materialize. Most of all, we regret not being
able to engage students.
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