History teaching as a nation-building tool in the early republican period in Turkey (1923-1938)
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Nation-states needed various ideological apparatuses when they wanted to eliminate traditional loyalties to the pre-modern era and establish a new superordinate identity. As frequently emphasised in conceptual discussions, two elements among these ideological apparatuses come to the fore: historiography and education. While social values that create a national identity have been constructed by historiography continuously from the past to the present, it aims at spreading such values through education. History education at the intersection of these two concepts has occupied a privileged place in the nation-building process. The most concrete examples of this phenomenon are the developments experienced in the context of history teaching in Turkey from 1923 to 1938, also known as the early republican period. The present study, using history textbooks, analyses changes in history teaching and expectations of it between 1923 and 1938, which were the most active years of the nationalisation period in Turkey. The findings of this study indicate that the historiography of the early republican period adopted an anthropology-based understanding in line with the conjuncture between the two world wars and that, in accordance with this understanding, a national identity with ethnic, religious, and political dimensions was intended to be promulgated through history teaching.