CFP Deadline: June 15, Conference on Jewish Academics in Turkey in 1930s, Turkey

EDUCATION IN THE CONTEXT OF IDEOLOGY AND POWER: Turkish University Reform and the Jewish Academics in Perspective

Atatürk Institute of Boğaziçi University, Goethe Institute-Istanbul and the Austrian Cultural Forum Istanbul are calling for scholarly papers for this conference which will take place at Boğaziçi University, Istanbul on October 31 – November 1, 2013.

The meeting aims at revisiting the Turkish University Reform of the 1930s and the admission of Jewish and Socialist academics from Nazi-Germany and from Austria and Hungary on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of their arrival.

The welcoming of mostly Jewish professors to Turkey is part of a well-established discourse, which emphasizes the republican endeavors to ensure the transfer of modern sciences and disciplines to new Turkey while pointing at the humanitarian policies of the state of the time.
Research on the Turkish University Reform put in practice through the employment of exiled academics mostly focused on the large-scale academic impact observable in the establishment of whole disciplines, curricula and scholarly traditions. As for the humanitarian policy, popular historical novels and documentaries stress Turkey as a safe haven for the expelled Jews of Europe. Today, the official version of Republican history is subject to criticism. Interrogations regarding the Turkish University Reform, swept under the carpet until now, come to the fore and the cliché of “Turkey as a safe haven for Jews” is being challenged through recent research. The conference will thus aim at addressing the following issues:
What are the relations between the Turkish University Reform of 1930s on the one hand and the creation of a new national identity and the construction of a new historical narrative on the other hand?

To which degree does Turkey’s policy of admitting expelled Jewish academics mirror the state’s position towards Jewish refugees at the time and towards the Jewish community in Turkey?
What are the reasons for the silence of highly politicized exiles-academics regarding the political climate in Turkey at that time? Why had the large majority of exiled professors left Turkey for other countries at the first occasion?

What remains today of the pioneering academic work of that period and what are the reasons for the continued flourishing of some academic disciplines and the decline of others?
The conference at Boğaziçi University will be accompanied by an exhibition to take place at İstanbul Bilgi University which would consist of the works of these academics, including university textbooks, material used at the university and pictures. Contributions of this kind would also be welcome. For more information on the presentation of these materials please consult Eren Özalay by email at

♣ The meeting will be held in Istanbul at Boğaziçi University;
♣ Working languages of the meeting will be English and Turkish and simultaneous translation will be provided in these two languages;
♣ In order to reserve time for Q&A sessions and discussions, speakers will have 20 minutes for their presentations;
♣ Transportation and accommodation expenses of participants from outside Istanbul will be covered if institutions they belong to cannot ensure coverage;
♣ The meeting takes on an interdisciplinary perspective;
♣ Researchers who would like to participate in this meeting should submit a 250-word abstract of their papers, along with a CV to no later than June 15, 2013.
♣ Articles presented at the conference will be published in an edited volume to appear both in Turkish and in English.

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