Re-Orient-ation: Gender Transformation within Oriental Contexts

Apr 3, 2024, 4:30 pm6:00 pm



Event Description
Demet Karabulut Dede

Virginia Woolf's seminal work Orlando commands a prominent place within the scholarly discourse on her oeuvre, prompting extensive inquiries into the rationale behind the chosen milieu for Orlando's sexual metamorphosis. Frequently, scholars draw parallels between the protagonist Orlando and figures such as Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, renowned for her travels to Constantinople from 1716 to 1718, as well as Vita Sackville-West, who also lived in Constantinople between 1913-14. This presentation proposes to undertake a comparative reading of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu's Turkish Embassy Letters, Virginia Woolf's Orlando, and Vita Sackville-West's Challenge, elucidating the theme of gender transformation and the metaphorical "unveiling" as it unfolds within the context of the Orient.

Demet Karabulut Dede is an assistant professor at Haliç University in Istanbul, Turkey, and currently is a Fulbright visiting scholar in the Department of English at Princeton University. Her academic journey includes a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Exeter, a doctoral degree from Ankara University, and a master's degree from Istanbul Bilgi University. She specializes in literary modernism and works at the intersection of modernist and spatial studies, with a particular focus on alternative modernities. 

At Princeton she is working on two book projects. The first, titled "Modernist Continuities: Virginia Woolf and Women in Turkey," examines the reception of Virginia Woolf among Turkish women writers, exploring literary networks established around Woolf's works and her influence on the women's movement in Turkey. Her second book project, "Imperial Encounters: The Ottoman and Byzantine Empires in Modernist Writing," is a monograph that examines how notions of the Orient shaped the British understanding of modernity. This analysis is achieved through an exploration of the reception of the Byzantine Empire and the Ottoman Empire in a diverse array of texts.

Department of English