She completed her middle school education in Arnavutköy American Girls’ College in 1965. She graduated from Smith College (USA) in 1967 and completed her PhD in Hacettepe University in 1971. She became an assistant professor in 1977 and a professor in 1988. From 1967 to 1970, she taught in Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ), in the Department of English Language and Literature in Hacettepe University from 1970 to 1972 and in the Department of English Language and Literature in Boğaziçi University from 1972 to 2003. As a teacher, she creates the atmosphere for the student to debate on the subjects and supports her students to lead a life by learning, producing and thinking critically.
She also took many administrative roles. She founded the Department of Translation and Interpreting in Boğaziçi University in 1983. She worked as the head of the department until 1990. She worked as the manager of the College of Foreign Languages in Boğaziçi University between the years 1982-1985 and 1988-1989, as the senator of the Faulty of Science and Letters from 1984 to 1988 and as the representative of professors in the Committee of the Faculty of Science and Letters from 1993 to 1996. Since 2003, she has been working as the dean of the Faculty of Science and Letters in Doğuş University and as the head of the Department of English Language and Literature. In her academic works, she uses translation studies as well as methods of literature analysis; she watches the evolution of world and comparative literature closely and she introduces the interdisciplinary methods to the Turkish literary studies. She is a permanent member of the Institution of Criticism in the University of California (Irvine) and also a member of many other foundations and institutions such as the Foundation of International English Literature Professors, Foundation of Comparative Literature, ISCILT, PALA, Foundation of American Etudes and Foundation of Turkish Cultural Studies.
She published many works on middle age and 19th century literature, modern Turkish literature, theories of criticism and culture. She published her articles on the history of literature and criticism in national and international journals such as Varlık, Adam Sanat, Toplum ve Bilim, Gösteri, Journal of American Studies in Turkey. From 1979 to 1982, she led a project with Prof. Cevza Sevgen and Cay Dollerup, titled Fairytale: An Interdisciplinary Turco-Danish Study of the Collective v. the Individual Nature of the Response to Literature'
which focuses on the interdisciplinary readings of fairy tales. Her interdisciplinary perspective also has family roots: Dilek Doltaş is the sister of the artist and art critic İpek Aksüğür Duben. In 2003, she published a textbook on postmodernism, Postmodernizm ve Eleştirisi:
Tartışmalar/Uygulamalar. The work claims that literary productions should be considered within the context of the conditions surrounding it: economic, technologic and social. Doltaş sees postmodernism as a movement that questions the limits of modernism. In other words she defines the problem of postmodernism as a criticism of modernism, which is why it cannot pass beyond the limits of modernism. In the extended publication of the book (2003), she suggests that postmodernism has come to its end as a movement, but because of postmodernism we cannot accept modernist thinking without questioning it (218). In the second edition of the book, Doltaş renews some parts of the book, and highlights the political aspect of postmodernism. She exemplifies the evolution of postmodernism by discussing the works of Ihab Hassan, Homi Bhabha, Gayatri C. Spivak and Stanley Fish. By focusing on the intellectual arguments on 11 September 2001, she highlights the relationship of postmodernism with contemporary social and cultural arguments.
She presents a review on contemporary postmodernism within world and Turkish literature. She defines D. M. Thomas’s The White Hotel as a “portrait in which postmodernism as a view and as a method is used both in its context and style” and discusses on postmodernism through this novel (138). She also focuses postmodernism in Turkish literature and uses methods of close reading. She suggests that Hilmi Yavuz’s postmodern trilogy, Fehmi K’nın Acayip Serüvenleri (1991) is an intercultural pastiche. She defines Süreya Evren’s Postmodern Bir Kız Sevdim (1993) as “A parody of black humor with Black Book” (155). She reads Erendiz Atasü’s Dağın Öteki Yüzü (1995) which received Orhan Kemal Novel Prize, as a text that goes from story to novel, history to literature, reality to fiction. She sees every text as an aesthetical value that changes what it repeats, transforms and therefore “changes the way that the readers see the world”.
Change and transformation are important themes in Doltaş’s readings. She uses these themes with a careful close reading (2008) on Walter Andrews’ translation of Hilmi Yavuz’s poems, Seasons of Word (2007). Along with analaysing Andrews collection, it also presents an analysis on Yavuz’s poems through Ayna Şiirleri3 (1992), Erguvan Sözler (1993), Gülün Ustası Yoktur (1993), Yazın Dil ve Sanat (1996). According to Doltaş the poems which makes tradition and modern converse as well as East and West, makes Yavuz a poet who feeds on and re-defines opposites while puting his poetry in a position where Western aesthetic meets Eastern life style. For Doltaş, the dualities which transform each other, also show a mirror to the readers an create a new language while turning the works into masterpieces.