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(Inter-)nationalism and the new Turkey: the rise and fall of international education at Istanbul's Robert College, c. 1913-1933

(Inter-)nationalism and the new Turkey: the rise and fall of international education at Istanbul's Robert College, c. 1913-1933

Objective

"The purpose of this project is to analyze the conflicts and strategies of adjustment emanating from the encounter of international education, seeking to overcome national bias, with nation building efforts in post-Ottoman Turkey. Efforts to imbue students with a sense of internationalism in the aftermath of WW1 had to be reconciled with those of emerging nation states. Using the case of Robert College, an American private institution in Istanbul, which aimed to foster a future social and political elite of a native student body drawn from different ethnic and religious communities in Turkey, I will shed light on an understudied aspect of Turkish nationalism and education in the early Kemalist era, namely the relation between this institution's internationalist ideals and the tenets of a Westernizing yet ethnocentric national ideology. The never before analyzed material is drawn from the archives of Robert College as well as private collections of its teaching staff. Using this material, I will address the educational philosophy and intentions of the faculty, the strategies and arguments developed in its dealings with Turkish authorities, and the reasons for the demise of international education in Turkey as well as students' understanding of internationalism, patriotism and modernization. This is a perspective that has been largely absent in scholarship on this critical phase of modern Turkish history, owing to the hegemony of Kemalist discourse during the interwar years. The project thus contributes new knowledge and a more nuanced understanding of the roots of the current AKP government's backlash against ""Western"" modernity, and the continuity between today's Islamist traditionalism and the alleged secularism of Kemalism, with regard to tolerance of ethnic and religious diversity. As an internationally recognized scholar of the legacies of late Ottoman mass violence, nationalism and the use of history, I am well suited to see this project through."

Coordinator

KOBENHAVNS UNIVERSITET

Address

Norregade 10
1165 Kobenhavn

Denmark

Activity type

Higher or Secondary Education Establishments

EU Contribution

€ 219 312

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 842046

Status

Grant agreement signed

  • Start date

    1 August 2019

  • End date

    31 July 2021

Funded under:

H2020-EU.1.3.2.

  • Overall budget:

    € 219 312

  • EU contribution

    € 219 312

Coordinated by:

KOBENHAVNS UNIVERSITET

Denmark