National education meets critical pedagogy: teaching oral history in Turkey
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Neyzi, Leyla. (2019). National education meets critical pedagogy: teaching oral history in Turkey. Oral History Review.
In this article, I reflect on teaching oral history in a society with a centralized education system that inculcates a hegemonic national(ist) history. I suggest that the commitment to academic freedom and liberal arts education at Sabanci University, a private university in Turkey, encourages the teaching of in-terdisciplinary and research-oriented courses that critical pedagogy inspires. I show that while oral history is relatively new and weakly institutionalized in Turkey, recent interest in and growing debates about the past have led to growing demand for oral history. Using examples from the classroom, I argue that oral history teaching has enormous potential for addressing the silences and controversies in Turkey's past. I show that the practice of oral history allows students to rethink the learning process, debate public history, reconsider their relations with others, and reflect on their own past and current subjectivities. Describing the contraction of the public sphere in Turkey in the last two years, I discuss the limits of the oral history classroom as a microcosm of society. I suggest that despite (or because of) these limitations, oral historians may develop creative new ways to continue teaching and collaborating with their student
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