1. Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient
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  4. Deniz T. Kilincoglu - Representations of the Past

Deniz T. Kilincoglu - Representations of the Past

Learning to Feel Like a Nation: Nationalism and Emotions in Turkish School Books

Dr. Deniz T. Kılınçoğlu

How do we learn to think, feel, and act as a member of a nation? How does the sense of national belonging become a part of our common sense? This project explores these hitherto understudied questions by investigating the dynamics of instilling national sentiments into children’s minds in Turkish schools. It analyzes national(ist) narratives in primary- and secondary-school textbooks, which represent the historical and contemporary sociopolitical reality from a nation-centered perspective.

The project focuses on Turkey as a highly-informative case due to its centralized school system, and the unquestionable dominance of a nationalist ideology. It deals especially with the last four decades (1980–2020), during which the country has experienced a transition from a military-overseen secular political regime to an Islamic-conservative one. This enables the researcher to observe continuity, as well as change, in national(ist) narratives during this period of seemingly significant sociopolitical transformation.

By bringing together empirical, methodological, and conceptual contributions from the sociology of knowledge, the history and sociology of emotions, cognitive science, narratology, and nationalism studies, this project aims at shedding new light on the influence of nationalism on our individual and collective minds.