1918: The Concept of "New Life" & "Emancipated" Women in Turkey

“New Life” as formulated by the Young Turks required radical changes in the cultural norms and social structures of Ottoman society during the Great War. Large numbers of women had been integrated into the social and economic life of the country. The poverty-stricken, isolated Ottoman women had no choice but to seek employment to survive as their men, who had hitherto provided for the household, were called to arms. This led to the emancipation of women and the search to acquire a new identity. Gender issues became paramount as an era of trauma conquered the interregnum in 1918.

Professor Zafer Toprak graduated from Ankara University. He holds a master's degree from the University of London and doctorate degrees from Istanbul University and St. Olaf College [Minnesota]. His academic studies concentrated on 19th and 20th century Turkey. He published 25 books and about 300 articles in Turkish, English, French, German and Italian. Prof. Zafer Toprak started teaching at the University of London in 1972. He joined the Department of Humanities at Boğaziçi University in 1977 and taught at Minnesota and Paris Universities. He directed Atatürk Graduate Institute at Boğaziçi University for 20 years. He is the curator of the İş Bank Finance Museum and Asım Kocabıyık Borusan Museum as well as several expositions for Yapı Kredi Bank, Garanti Bank, İş Bank and Pera Museum. He is currently teaching at Koç University and Boğaziçi University. He is a member of the Academy of Science of Turkey.