Books we love
Women and Travel
Anastasia M. Ashman, an American writer living in Istanbul and coeditor of Tales from the Expat Harem, an anthology by foreign women living in Turkey, recommends these books on women and travel, and more:
Unsuitable for Ladies: An Anthology of Women Travellers, selected by Jane Robinson. "In this spunky companion volume to Wayward Women (her book about women travel writers through history), Robinson collects the global travels of 200 women across 16 countries. The chapters indicate that the act of travel is and has always been a transformative force in women's lives. "
Veiled Half-Truths: Western Travelers' Perception of Middle Eastern Women, selected and annotated by Judy Mabro. "A politicized and rigorous survey of the depictions of 'Oriental' women in the writings of 18th to 20th century European travel books, memoirs, and guides. These skewed first-hand accounts influenced or reinforced the stereotypes being embraced back home, and even though the sources have faded the perceptions endure today."
Adventurous Women in South-East Asia, edited by John Gullick. "Part of the terrific Oxford-in-Asia series, this easy-reading collection by various scholars examines the lives of 19th century Western women in the Asian tropics. It helped put into context my own struggling expatriate experience when I was living in steamy Malaysia."
Dreaming of East, by Barbara Hodgson. "For generations of Western women, Eastern travel has signified freedom. Yet in the more 'liberal' West this does not compute. How can the cloistered East be a place of emancipation? Through a series of portraits of women who traveled to the eastern Ottoman empire, Hodgson demonstrates the calculus."