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Writing Postcolonial Histories of Intercultural Education

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Heike Niedrig and Christian Ydesen

Bringing together a group of international researchers from two educational sub-disciplines – «History of Education» and «Intercultural Education» – the contributions to this volume provide insights into the (pre-)history of intercultural issues in education across a vast range of historical, national-geographical and political contexts. The anthology takes its readers on a fascinating journey around the globe, presenting case studies from Asia, Africa, Europe and America. The coherence of the journey is found in recurring themes and questions, such as: How does the discourse on «multiculturalism» or «intercultural learning» construct the norm and the Others in these educational settings? Who has the power of definition? And what are the functions and effects of these processes of Othering?

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Mustafa Çapar: ‘The Others’ in the Turkish Education System and in Turkish Textbooks

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‘The Others’ in the Turkish Education System and in Turkish Textbooks Mustafa Çapar, Mustafa Kemal University, Turkey Modern nation-states, in general, tend to assume that “internal homogeneity” is or should be the norm, and therefore, that heterogeneity – particularly in terms of ethnicity, culture, language, and also religion – constitutes a problem. Differ- ent strategies to deal with this “problem” can be observed in different national contexts. In the case of Turkey, a nationalist and essentialist ideology has par- ticularly alarming effects because this nation-state has not as yet internalized democracy, so the nationalism that pervades the state means that the protection of minorities is tenuous. Just like any other country, Turkey is a multi-ethnic society whose minority groups have been historically constructed and continue to be re-constructed as ‘the Other’ against the ‘Turkish norm’. In Turkey, these groups include non- Muslims (e.g. Armenians, Greeks, Jews, Yezidis, Assyrians), ethnic minorities (e.g. Kurds, Gypsies, Lazs), Alevis, street children, socialists, gays, to name but a few. However, non-Muslims and Kurds, in particular, are considered danger- ous elements who threaten the integrity of the nation-state. This is reflected in their representation within the national education system. Since the late 1800s, the content of textbooks used in schools has been heav- ily influenced by nationalist ideology. These books have contributed to raising children in a strict essentialist-nationalist ideology. When people educated in this ideology come to power, they consider this policy as natural, rightful and necessary. Therefore I argue that the Turkish national education system is...

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