Elisabeth Kimmerle is HISDEMAB Junior Research Fellow at Leibniz-Zentrum für Zeitgeschichtliche Forschung in Potsdam. She is preparing a PhD at Universität Potsdam on the theme of Women in Movement. Migrant Women from Turkey in West Germany and Democracy in Turkey (1961 to 1990)
This PhD project examines the transnational space that emerged through migration from Turkey to West Germany between the 1960s to the 1980s from a gender-historical perspective. It poses the question of what role migrant women from Turkey in West Germany played as transnational actors in processes of social change in their country of origin. How did migrant women in West Germany and women in Turkey organize themselves politically in the 1960s to 1990s across borders? How did migration and feminist mobilization change private and public spaces for women from and in Turkey? How did women from Turkey in West Germany and women in Turkey participate in the negotiations about democracy, equality and civil rights? The project investigates the circulation of knowledge, transnational practices and spaces in which migrant women from Turkey in West Germany and women in Turkey met and exchanged ideas, as well as the impact of these cross-border solidarities on the social transformation in Turkey between 1961 and 1990.
The project will approach these questions with a multi-perspective access to sources from oral history interviews and archival sources in Germany and Turkey. The project will be based on interviews with contemporary witnesses as well as archival sources ranging from official sources of the Federal Republic of Germany and Turkey as well as personal testimonies, letters, and flyers to Turkish newspaper and magazine reports. With this multi-layered approach, the project aims to contribute to the research of transnational spaces and their social and political effects in West Germany and Turkey from a gender historical perspective beyond the paradigm of tradition and emancipation. By focusing on encounters and the exchange of ideas and practices between female migrant workers from and women in Turkey, the project aims to expand the nation-state oriented narratives of labor migration, gender, and democratization through a transnational perspective.