ERG SES D 09, Histories of Education
The discourse about ‘Turks’ and ‘Turkey’ has been a lost chapter in the history of education (see Lohmann et al. 2013). This is a partly surprising statement because of the intensive relationship between the German and the Ottoman Empire until the end of World War I. The construction of knowledge about ‘Turks and Turkey’, which is the main aim of our project (Knowledge about ‘Turks’ and ‘Turkey’ in Education. Discourse Changes, 1839-1945), has been constituted in different spaces of the discourse, e.g. the sciences, politics, mass media and administrations, but we can also consider educational contexts as specific fields in the construction of knowledge. A discourse is, as Foucault has stated, a historical specific room of what is know- and sayable which is connected with circumstances of power (Foucault 1974, 1986). With that, we can ask, first, how did educationalists participate in the construction of knowledge and, secondly, how did those processes of construction connect with other fields of the discourse?
The forced break-up between the two states after World War I is the starting point of my project and my presentation. As we can follow Ihring and Mangold-Will, the shift in the foreign polities led to a drastic break in the German-Turkish relationship. Both authors do agree, that the long cultivated picture of the repeated friendship between the two former allies during the 1920’s has to be rewritten (see Ihrig 2014 and Mangold-Will 2013). In fact, we can identify a complex development that started just after the end of the war with the media coverage of the Turkish revolution. Although direct diplomacy has not been allowed until 1924, there have been multiple informal connections associated with clubs like the ‘Bund deutscher Asienkämpfer’. Considering this, we can ask, if and how the changing relationships contributed to the construction of knowledge about ‘Turks’ and ‘Turkey’ in Germany in the 1920’s.
As we consider the questions above mentioned, we have to take a close look to textbooks. They have been identified as those kind of media in which we can find the specific knowledge and values that a society defines as important and wants to be transferred to the next generation (see Lässig 2010). Taking advantage of the theory of knowledge in schoolbooks, provided by Höhne, we can call textbooks with Lässig as both, “construction by and constructers of social order and the knowledge of a society” (see Lässig 2010 and Höhne 2003, 2011). The textbooks have been part of the discourse, in which the knowledge about Turks and Turkey has been constituted. Therefore, we will examine the elementary narratives of the knowledge construction between 1919 and 1933.
The presentation is structured around the general aim of the study, its theoretical and methodological approach and the concrete work with the material, with which we can identify the narrative structures lying beneath the discursive construction of the knowledge about ‘Turks’ and ‘Turkey’.
The study is situated in the field of textbook analysis within the history of education adapting elements of different forms of discourse analysis. Based on Landwehr’s assumption that a historical corpus can be seen as imaginary, virtual and concrete, we considered the textbooks collected in the Georg-Eckert-Institute, Brunswick, and used them to build a corpus composed of 357 books of the school subjects history and geography (Landwehr 2009). We have concentrated our sample on the most common and frequently published SATs, so we can identify both, the small changes within the discourse as well as the upcoming of new narratives. In textbook research, discourse analytical approaches are based mostly on critical forms. As we try to examine a historical knowledge, we use elements of Landwehr’s historical approach in combination with parts of Keller’s and Höhne’s variations (see Landwehr 2009 and Höhne 2011). With this, we can consider all elements of a page of a textbook and can use the narrative and phenomenological structure of the discourses. To do that, we use CAQDA-software and a coding-system. With that, we can have both, a quantitative analysis of the appearance of Turks and Turkey in textbooks and the qualitative analysis, where we can use close reading technologies and elements of the grounded theory like minimal and maximum contrast to limit the number of texts for the detailed reading step. Within the close reading section, we take a close look to the narrative structures, which can be taken out of the research literature and the source itself.
Turkey and Germany, and their predecessors, respectively, do have a long-standing relationship. Therefore, the knowledge about ‘Turks’ and ‘Turkey’ in Germany and its constituting discourses can be traced back even before the crusades, but we can identify a constant change with newly integrated aspects and also past allocations. With this research perspective in mind, this paper will give insights into the production of knowledge within the discourses in textbooks during the Weimar Republic.
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