Between Turkish nationalism and western civilization: Kemalist history textbooks in the 1930s
Schilling, Patrick Christian Helmut (2016) Between Turkish nationalism and western civilization: Kemalist history textbooks in the 1930s. [Thesis]
This thesis provides a detailed analysis of the historical narrative contained in the 'Tarih' history textbooks used in the secondary schools of the Turkish Republic in the 1930s. It argues that the shape of this narrative was determined by pragmatic, ideological and historiographical factors. Pragmatically, it was intended to support the program of nation-building and secularizing/westernizing reform embarked on by the Turkish state in the 1920s and 1930s. Ideologically, it reflected the nationalist, positivist and secularist outlook of the early republican Kemalist elite. In historiographical terms, it was influenced by a variety of narratives regarding the history of the Turkish nation that had been developed in the final decades of the Ottoman Empire. The thesis is divided into three chapters. The first chapter provides an account of the Turkish state's twin programs of nation-building and westernizing/secularizing reform throughout the 1920s, and a discussion of the ideological background to these programs. The second chapter presents a brief account of the writing of the new national history, and places this history in its historiographical context. The third chapter contains an analysis of the history of the Turkish nation as presented in the history textbooks. Separate sections in this chapter focus on the textbook depiction of the origins and character of the Turkish nation, of the Turkish nation's supposed role in spreading civilization throughout the world, of the history of the Turks of Central Asia and of Islam, and of the history of the Ottoman Empire.
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