Analysis - Saturday, July 1, 2017 6:27 - 0 Comments

History Education in Schools in Turkey and Armenia. A Critique and Alternatives

by

Authors: Alişan Akpınar, Sos Avetisyan, Hayk Balasanyan, Fırat Güllü, Işıl Kandolu, Maria Karapetyan, Nvard V. Manasian, Lilit Mkrtchyan, Elif Aköz Özkaya, Hasan Tahsin Özkaya, Garine Palandjian, Ararat Şekeryan, Ömer Turan

Editors: Bülent Bilmez, Kenan Çayır, Özlem Çaykent, Philip Gamaghelyan, Maria Karapetyan, Pınar Sayan

Download PDF

Preface to This Publication

Analyzing a country’s history education model can give profound insights into a society’s prevailing attitudes towards and perceptions of diversity, justice, peace, and democracy. In conflict and post-conflict contexts, such an analysis can also shed light onto how ways of constructing historical narratives may act as one of the underlying drivers of conflict within and between societies. Many works have been published on how conflict narratives in history education and textbooks, as well as conflict-promoting teaching methodologies and extra-curricular activities, may contribute to the formation of monolithic nationalist identities ensued by antagonistic and hostile attitudes, rhetoric, and actions towards groups and communities considered as the “other” [1].

This publication is a joint endeavor of a network of history educators, historians as well as other social scientists, and conflict transformation practitioners from Turkey and Armenia. The aim of this publication is to analyze the history education models and the narratives in the current school textbooks of history in these countries challenging the image of the “other” as an “enemy”․ The publication also aims at contributing to the transformation of the current exclusivist narratives and developing and advocating for inclusive, multiperspective, and conflict-sensitive content and approaches to history education in Turkey and Armenia.

This publication was developed in the framework of the project “Politics of Memory and Forgetting in History Textbooks: Network Building for Historians and History Educators in the Context of Armenia-Turkey Relations” co-led by the History Foundation and the Imagine Center in cooperation with the Center for Sociology and Education Studies (SEÇBİR) of Istanbul Bilgi University and the Yerevan-based Association of Young Historians. The project was supported by the Program “Support to the Armenia-Turkey Normalization Process: Stage Two”.

The agreement on the principles and methodology that guided the work towards this publication was developed during a five-day “Dialogue and Capacity Building Workshop” that took place in Istanbul in January 2017. The workshop brought together 12 history educators and historians from Armenia and Turkey based on the criteria of commitment to long-term collaboration and a diversity of institutional and professional affiliations. The Workshop served as a platform for exchange of experience and learning from international experiences of reform in history education especially in conflict and post-conflict contexts. The workshop focused primarily, but not exclusively, on the following topics։

–        discourse construction processes in historiography, history education, and public history;

–        the politics of memory, commemoration, and remembrance;

–        collective forgetting, silenced memories, and marginalized narratives;

–        places of memory and sacralized landscapes in conflict contexts;

–        history and reconciliation commissions;

–        language, ideology, and power;

–        critical historiography, oral history, critical narrative and discourse analysis;

–        inclusive history teaching methodologies and textbook development.

Following the Workshop, the newly-formed network of history educators and historians engaged into the production of two co-authored and interconnected papers that make up this publication.

During the first process, the network members conducted an analysis of the current school textbooks of history in Armenia and Turkey. The focus of this critique was the representations of “self” and “other” in the textbook narratives. The analysis also considered the wider context of history education in Armenia and Turkey including the legacy of the previous generations of textbooks, recent education and textbook reforms, the current state-prescribed and approved history curricula and teaching methodologies, as well as the politics of textbook development and production today. The findings and reflections of this process are presented in the paper “Analysis of History Education Models and Historical Narratives in School Textbooks in Armenia and Turkey” of this publication.

For the second process, the network members discussed alternatives to the existing models and approaches to history education forming an agreement around principles and approaches necessary for advancing inclusive and multiperspective historiography and history education. The results of this quest for alternative models and approaches is presented in the paper “Guiding Principles Towards an Alternative Understanding of History Education” of this publication.

Supported by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, some of the network members met again for a second Workshop in Yerevan in March 2017 to discuss the ongoing work. As of June 2017, the network has already presented the work conducted so far within the event “What future for the Armenian-Turkish dialogue? Memory issues and international relations in discussion” organized by the Embassy of France in Yerevan and the non-governmental organization “Yerkir Europe” in Yerevan in February 2017. The work has been shared also in a presentation titled “Nationalism and Sexism in History Textbooks in Armenia and Turkey” hosted by the History Foundation and in a program of Radio Agos in Istanbul in April 2017. Most recently, the papers have been presented in the conference “Armenia-Turkey: Paving the Way for Dialogue and Reconciliation” organized by the Caucasus Research Resource Center-Armenia in Yerevan in May 2017.

The network members have also developed a vision and strategy for long-term collaboration agreeing on an action plan focused on the development of pilot alternative history lessons for schools and universities, as well as a training manual for universities and other educational settings for training younger generations of historians and history educators. The project partners – the Imagine Center and History Foundation – will continue to collaborate in an effort to build the professional capacity in both Turkey and Armenia in contemporary and alternative methods of historiography and history teaching that incorporates alternative narratives and oral histories, promotes critical thinking and multiperspectivity, and uses interactive, student-centered and discussion-based teaching methods.

[1] For conflict and links to curriculum, teaching, and textbooks see for example: the 1979 book “Ideology and Curriculum” by Michael W. Apple, the 1991 book “The Politics of the Textbook” by Michael W. Apple and Linda Christian-Smith, the 2005 book by Lynn Davies “Education and Conflict: Complexity and Chaos”. For history education and conflict in various geographies, see for example: the 2016 volume “History Can Bite: History Education in Divided and Postwar Societies” edited by Denise Bentrovato, Karina V. Korostelina, and Martina Schulze; the 2013 volume “History Education and Post-conflict Reconciliation: Reconsidering Joint Textbook Projects” edited by Karina V. Korostelina, Simone Lässig, and Stefan Ihrig; the 2012 volume “History Education and the Construction of National Identities” edited by Mario Carretero, Mikel Asensio, María Rodríguez Moneo; the 2007 volume “Teaching the Violent Past: History Education and Reconciliation” edited by Elizabeth A. Cole. For history education and conflict in specific contexts, see for example: the 2004 volume “Reckoning with the Past: Teaching History in Northern Ireland” by Margaret E. Smith, the 2005 volume “History Education and National Identity in East Asia” edited by Edward Vickers and Alisa Jones, the 2009 volume “‘Transition’ and the Politics of History Education in Southeast Europe” edited by Augusta Dimou, the 2008 volume “Contested Views of a Common Past: Revisions of History in Contemporary East Asia” edited by Steffi Richter, the 2007 volume “History Teaching, Identities and Citizenship” edited by Luigi Cajani and Alistair Ross (Europe and the Mediterranean), among others.

 

Contents

ABOUT THE AUTHORS AND EDITORS

PREFACE TO THIS PUBLICATION

PAPER 1. ANALYSIS OF HISTORY EDUCATION MODELS AND HISTORICAL NARRATIVES IN SCHOOL TEXTBOOKS IN ARMENIA AND TURKEY

INTRODUCTION

PART 1. ANALYSIS OF HISTORY EDUCATION MODELS AND HISTORICAL NARRATIVES IN SCHOOL TEXTBOOKS IN TURKEY

1.1 Background and Politics of History Education in Turkey

1.2 Current History Education Curriculum and Textbooks in Turkey

1.3 Discourse Analysis of History Textbooks in Turkey

1.4 Untold Stories: Patterns of Omissions of Her Story in the Hi(s)Story Textbooks in Turkey

1.5 Analysis of Teaching Guidelines and Methodologies in “Teaching Programs” and Textbooks

CONCLUSION TO PART 1

PART 2. ANALYSIS OF HISTORY EDUCATION MODELS AND HISTORICAL NARRATIVES IN SCHOOL TEXTBOOKS IN ARMENIA

2.1 Background and Politics of History Education in Armenia

2.2 Current History Education Curriculum and Textbooks in Armenia

2.3 Discourse Analysis of History Textbooks in Armenia

2.4 Untold Stories: Patterns of Omissions of Her Story in the Hi(s)Story Textbooks in Armenia

2.5 Analysis of Teaching Guidelines and Methodologies in “Subject Standards”, “Teacher Manuals”, and Textbooks

CONCLUSION TO PART 2

CONCLUSION

PAPER 2. GUIDING PRINCIPLES TOWARDS AN ALTERNATIVE UNDERSTANDING OF HISTORY EDUCATION

INTRODUCTION

PART 1. GUIDING PRINCIPLES FOR HISTORY TEXTBOOK PRODUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT

1.1 Textbook Development, Production, and Approval Models Around the World              

1.2 Recommendations for the Cases of Turkey and Armenia

PART 2. GUIDING PRINCIPLES FOR THE CONCEPT AND ROLE OF HISTORY EDUCATION AND TEACHING METHODOLOGIES

2.1 Towards a De-ideologized and Re-politicized History Education

2.2 Overcoming the Omniscient Single Voice in Favor of Multiple Voices and Perspectives

2.3 Addressing Nationalism in History Education

2.4 Addressing Militarism in History Education

2.5 Moving from Essentialism to Social Constructivism

2.6 Towards Diverse Ways of Conceptualizing Time and Space

2.7 Teaching the Method of History

2.8 Finding the Balance Between Contextualization and Isolation of Histories

2.9 Approaches to the Language of History Education

2.10 Going Beyond the Textbook as the All-encompassing Source

2.11 Teaching Political History Beyond Political Elites and Wars and Teaching Social, Cultural, and Everyday History

2.12 Teaching Local Histories

CONCLUSION

POSTSCRIPT

APPENDIX: A PARALLEL PERSPECTIVE ON NARRATIVES ABOUT THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE AND THE CAUCASUS FRONT IN THE FIRST WORLD WAR IN HISTORY TEXTBOOKS IN ARMENIA AND TURKEY 104

ABBREVIATIONS AND ACRONYMS

ANALYZED TEXTBOOKS AND TEACHER MANUALS

BIBLIOGRAPHY

 

Istanbul and Yerevan 2017

 

© History Foundation (Tarih Vakfı) and Imagine Center for Conflict Transformation

This publication was prepared using Microsoft Office Word and the cover page design and image belongs to Microsoft Office.

This publication has been produced with the assistance of the European Union, within the framework of the programme Support to the Armenia-Turkey Normalisation Process: Stage Two. Its contents are the sole responsibility of the History Foundation (Tarih Vakfı) and its partner the Imagine Center for Conflict Transformation and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.

www.armenia-turkey.net

One of the workshops that made this publication possible was funded by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.

 

 

 

www.fes.de

 

The History Foundation is a non-governmental organization working in the public interest with the objective of developing and extending history consciousness in Turkey. It aims at enriching and lending a new content to the way in which people regard history and at encouraging the conservation of the variety of historical heritage with a deep-rooted sensitivity and active participation of wide sections of the population.

www.tarihvakfi.com, tarihvakfi@tarihvakfi.org.tr

 

The Imagine Center for Conflict Transformation (Imagine Center) is an independent, non-political organization that is dedicated to positively transforming relations and laying foundations for lasting and sustainable peace in conflict-torn societies.

www.imaginedialogue.com, info@imaginedialogue.com

 



Leave a Comment

Comment

Subscribe to our Newsletter