Katja Jana: From Westernization to Civilization? Body Politics and the Formation of Modern Subjects in the Passage From the Ottoman Empire to the Turkish Nation State
In 1925, the Turkish Parliament outlawed all headgear other than the “European hat”. This law and its repercussions are known as “hat revolution” in official Turkish historiography. Being part and parcel of the Kemalist modernization and nation-building program, the law’s implementation was met with fierce resistance. Taking the law and the circumstances of its promulgation as point of departure, I am tracing debates on headgear, dress codes and associated corporeal practices during Late Ottoman and Early Republican times. Various perceptions of masculinity in these discourses are conceptualized as embodiments of the greater Ottoman discourse about Westernization/modernization and the Orient-Occident dichotomy. I am asking in which way the question of dress and especially headgear is linked to gendered, racialized and class based embodiments of power and for the entanglement of embodiments of power structures in the formation of political projects and societies.