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Age of RoguesRebels, Revolutionaries and Racketeers at the Frontiers of Empires$
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Ramazan Öztan and Alp Yenen

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9781474462624

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2022

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474462624.001.0001

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Gendered Narratives of Transgressive Politics: Recovering Revolutionary Rubina

Gendered Narratives of Transgressive Politics: Recovering Revolutionary Rubina

(p.53) 2 Gendered Narratives of Transgressive Politics: Recovering Revolutionary Rubina
Age of Rogues

Houri Berberian

Edinburgh University Press

A report issued by the Ottoman commission investigating the 1905 attempted assassination of Sultan Abdülhamid II describes Rubina (Sophie Areshian), who helped plan and carry out this act of political violence, as “Armenian, originally from the Caucasus, 32 years old, hysterical, not tall, skinny, brown, large dark eyes, vague look, pronounced and hooked nose, thin bloodless lips...” Similar depictions of Rubina as prone to nervousness, easily roused and distressed are echoed in contemporary Armenian-language accounts by her male comrades. Some even attempted to blame her for the failed assassination, citing the unsuitability of her “crisis”-prone character. This chapter attempts to recover Rubina from obscurity within the context of a male-dominated revolutionary discourse through an exploration of published and unpublished documents and correspondence and predominantly nationalist narratives of her role. Rubina's act of political violence in a masculinist-nationalist setting may be viewed as a transgressive and challenging act that has been depicted in gendered terms. Furthermore, the chapter seeks to recover and insert Rubina's story into the larger Armenian revolutionary narrative as well as the broader context of the turn-of-the-twentieth-century revolutionary terror, a predominantly masculine world of revolution, and an age of rogues.

Keywords:   Violence, Gender, Terror, Armenian, Ottoman Empire, Caucasus

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