The Struggle for Modern Turkey: Justice, Activism, and a Revolutionary Female Journalist

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  Wednesday, December 9, 2020
  12:15 - 1:30 p.m.
  Stephens Hall

Sabiha Sertel was born into revolution in 1895, as an independent Turkey rose out of the dying Ottoman Empire. The nation’s first professional female journalist, her unrelenting push for democracy and social reforms ultimately cost Sertel her country and freedom. Shortly before her death in 1968, Sertel completed her autobiography Roman Gibi (Like a Novel), which was written during her forced exile in the Soviet Union. Translated here into English for the first time, and complete with a new introduction and comprehensive annotations, it offers a rare perspective on Turkey’s history as it moved to embrace democracy, then violently recoiled. The book reveals the voice of a passionate feminist and committed socialist who clashes with the young republic’s leadership. A unique first-hand account, the text foreshadows Turkey’s increasingly authoritarian state. Sertel offers her perspective on the fierce divisions over the republic’s constitution and covers issues including freedom of the press, women’s civil rights and the pre-WWII discussions with European leaders about Hitler’s rising power.

Tia O'Brien, granddaughter of Sabiha Sertel, is an award-winning journalist and multimedia educator based in San Francisco. Her career spans broadcasting--TV and radio, newspapers, magazines and online with a focus on politics, business and technology, Turkish issues and consumer affairs . O’Brien’s work has appeared in numerous international, national and local publications and major broadcast outlets.
Tia will be joined by Professor Christine Philliou as a discussant.

Center for Middle Eastern Studies
University of California, Berkeley
340 Stephens Hall, Berkeley, CA  94720-2314



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