Education, Politics, and the Life of Zabel Yessayan

with Jennifer Manoukian
hosted by Susanna Ferguson
This episode is part of a series on Women, Gender, and Sex in Ottoman history

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The late 19th century was a time of intellectual and cultural flourishing for the Armenian community in Constantinople, as a new generation of Armenian thinkers traveled to Europe to study, debated new ideas in the press, and settled on a new vernacular for their literary endeavors. Zabel Yessayan was one of the most important female figures of this generation, publishing articles on subjects including educational reform, art and aesthetics, and the question of women. In this podcast, Jennifer Manoukian discusses her new translation of Yessayan's memoir, The Gardens of Silihdar, and explores questions of women, gender, and politics in Yessayan's work.

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Jennifer Manoukian is a translator of Western Armenian literature. She has an MA in Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies from Columbia University. The Gardens of Silihdar by Zabel Yessayan, was released by AIWA Press in 2014. (
Susanna Ferguson is a PhD student in Middle Eastern History at Columbia University, where she focuses on the history of women and gender in the Arab world in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. (

Episode No. 174
Release date: 23 September 2014
Location: Manhattan, NY
Editing and Production by Chris Gratien
Bibliography courtesy of Jennifer Manoukian

Citation: "Education, Politics, and the Life of Zabel Yessayan," Jennifer Manoukian, Susanna Ferguson, and Chris Gratien, Ottoman History Podcast, No. 174 (24 September 2014)


Zabel Yessayan (Source: AGBU)
Jennifer Manoukian, “Armenité refoulée: les premiers écrits de Zabel Yessayan (1895-1900).” Haigazian Armenological Review Volume 33: 2013, pp. 181-215.

James Etmekjian, The French Influence on the Western Armenian Renaissance 1843-1915. New York: Twayne Press, 1964.

Seta Kapoïan, "Parole de femme à travers ‘Les Jardins de Silihdar’ de Z. Essayan." Les Temps Modernes 392 (1979): 1464-473.

Marc Nichanian, "Zabel Yesaiyan: Woman and Witness, or the Truth of the Mask." New Perspectives on Turkey 42 (2010): 31-53.

Victoria Rowe,  A History of Armenian Women's Writing, 1880-1922. London: Gomidas Institute, 2009.

Zabel Yessayan, The Gardens of Silihdar: A Memoir, trans. Jennifer Manoukian, Watertown, MA: AIWA Press, 2014.

Zabel Yessayan, My Soul in Exile and Other Writings, trans. G.M. Goshgarian, Jennifer Manoukian and Nanore Barsoumian, Watertown, MA: AIWA Press, 2014.


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