Socialist Suleikas? Socialist Realism and Literatur der Betroffenheit in the Work of Saliha Scheinhardt

Duncan Gullick Lien


Saliha Scheinhardt’s work has been associated with self-orientalizing portrayals of Turkish women as passive victims. Focusing on the ending added to the 1991 edition of Frauen, die sterben, ohne daß sie gelebt hätten, I argue that Scheinhardt straddles realism and the influence of subjective outsider narratives associated with Literatur der Betroffenheit. Situating this analyis in the context of Cold War aesthetic debates over socialist realism, the present article supplements Jill Stockwell’s study of Frauen, which shows that the work is shaped by the writings of Turkish communist poet Nâzım Hikmet, by examining similarities between the Antolian (realist) novels of Fakir Baykurt and Scheinhardt’s representation of the protagonist’s social status and conditions of labor as a migrant woman. In conclusion, I suggest that Frauen models a mode of feminist thought beyond discourses that oppose migrant rights to women’s rights without discounting the oppression both groups face. (DL)

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