Who Are We?

Who Are We?

Gender and women’s studies, as a field and discipline that criticizes and questions gender inequality, patriarchy, and binary gender regime, developed and gained visibility in the second half of the 1960s with the support provided by the feminist movement, which is one of the most important social struggle movements, especially in the United States and Great Britain.

In Canada, half of the universities continue women’s studies programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels; 75% of universities necessarily have a few women-related courses. The number of women’s studies programs in the United States is more than 800. In Europe, 32 countries either have a women’s studies program at least one university or there are women-related / courses available. In the guide prepared by the European International Women’s Studies, the number of various addresses to apply for women’s studies exceeds 500.

There is a visible increase in the number of private periodicals publishing women’s work. So much so that SAGE Publications is publishing a separate introductory book listing periodicals related to women’s and gender studies. Not only is the number of academicians working in this field increasing, the field is also becoming institutionalized with the opening of master’s and doctoral programs at universities. The secret of this success is hidden in the dedication of women academics, most of whom come from the Second Wave Women’s Movement, to the issue of women’s liberation and gender equality.

Indeed, women’s studies programs began with the questioning of the oppression of women in all societies, and the opening of women’s studies courses was formed as a result of the feminist movement moving to the academic world; moreover, the discipline of women’s studies has realized this development in an economic, political and academic environment where women’s studies are viewed with prejudice, even hostile attitude. From this point of view, those who have established women’s studies programs at universities, those who teach in these programs, students who are interested in the program and who have chosen it with determination should be celebrated for their courage.

Feminism accepts the premise that women are excluded from coded knowledge, analyzes and defines this exclusion of women as autonomous individuals. Based on this, academic women’s studies has initiated an inquiry that can change the nature of all knowledge and has done this by showing that women have different thoughts, experiences, needs and interests and shifting the focus from male centrism.

Academic women’s studies are those aimed at producing feminist knowledge, questioning existing gender relations/inequalities, making women’s experiences visible and historicizing them, challenging dominant patriarchal definitions and restrictions, questioning the basic concepts of mainstream disciplines and dominant forms of knowledge/science, creating new ways of thinking and new teaching processes, and producing feminist policies.

Gender and women’s studies in Turkey is still a relatively young and rapidly growing field of study. Initially recognized as women’s studies, this field is now referred to as ‘gender and women’s studies’ with the enrichment of theoretical discussions about gender by criticism. In the first studies, the emphasis on equality was replaced by the emphasis on difference; the analysis of the ideological structure of knowledge production and language; the use of postmodernity paradigms as well as modernity paradigms. Deconstructing all kinds of structural and hierarchical essentialism; deepening the subject inquiry by decentralizing the individual; increasing interest in studies that question the functionalization of the use of reason as rationality; conducting feminist critical law, oral history and cultural studies; increasing interest in queer theory are some of the important features of the studies conducted in recent years.

We are an academic community that has focused its studies in the field of gender and women’s studies. We live in different countries abroad and in Turkey. Some of us are in the academy, and some are not, but we are all working for and towards the same goal– developing the field of gender and women’s studies in our area of focus. We have come together under the roof of this association to share our knowledge and experiences Decently and to stand in solidarity with each other.

Our field of study has the characteristic of being not only interdisciplinary but also multidisciplinary. This feature adds means to our research. We learn from each other, we nurture each other with our differences.

Our field of study is no doubt, a tough one to tackle. Anti-gender movements supported by conservative and authoritarian regimes that move away from scientific scope and grounds negatively affect the social sciences and humanities, but most of all the discipline of gender and women’s studies. Because we fundamentally criticize and reject inequalities, patriarchy, sexism, bipolar gender hierarchy and homophobia; we highlight them in our scientific ontological, epistemological and methodological inquiries. Although we are the target of women and LGBTI+ hostile approaches of anti-feminist thoughts, attitudes and behaviors from time to time with this stance, we are aware of the gender and women’s studies area of interest and the liberating feature of social relations. for this reason, we find in ourselves the competence to overcome the difficulties of the academic and political period we are in, and we continue our studies with determination within this framework.

We attach importance to intergenerational relations. in the 1980s, the first generation laid the cornerstones of gender and women’s studies. in the 199s and 2000s, the second generation strengthened against this background and formed the third generation, which has the widest and most deepened critical and questioning area of social relations today. As a reflection of this, and considering that the most concrete form of intergenerational solidarity is the transfer of knowledge and experience to young researchers, we are laying the foundations of the academic counseling program.