Image of Oriental Turkmen Female Travelees in the Nineteenth Century Western Travel Writing

Ahmad Gholi, Masoud Ahmadi Mosaabad


One of crucial issues which Western travel writers in their journeys to the Orient specifically in the height of colonialism in the nineteenth has addressed is Oriental women. Entrapped and conditioned by their cultural baggage and operating on the basis of Orientalist discourse, they have mostly presented a reductive image of their Oriental female travelees as exotic, seductive, sensual, secluded, and suppressed, in lieu of entering into a cultural dialogue and painting their picture sympathetically and respectfully. To convey their lasciviousness, they have expatiated on Oriental harems and to display their oppression foregrounded their veil and ill-treatment by their allegedly insensitive and callus menfolks. In the same period in the context of the Great Game the politically oriented Western travel writers in particular the British ones set out on a voyage to Central Asia where they encountered ethnic Turkmen. Besides gathering intelligence, the travel writers devoted considerable pages to their Turkmen female travelees as well. But their images in these travel books have not been subject to rigorous scholarly scrutiny. In this regard, the current articles in two sections seeks to redress this neglect by shedding light on how these travel writers portrayed their Turkmen female travelees in seemingly unorientalist fashion in the first part and how explicitly in Orientalist tradition in the second part.



Challenge Turkmen Female Travelees, Seemingly Unorientalist manner, Explicitly Orientalist, Travel books, Nineteenth Century

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