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Panel proposal for Oral History Association Meeting, Concordia University, Montreal, 10-13 October, 2018
“Our challenging times: The possibilities and limits of oral history in Turkey”
Leyla Neyzi and Lorenzo D’Orsi
Oral history remains relatively new and weakly institutionalized in Turkey. Academics and activists enthusiastically “discovered” oral history in the last two decades as issues of history, memory, and identity became widely debated both nationally and globally. It seemed as if oral history could be one of the means by which Turkish society would come to terms with its violent and silenced past. Significant research projects have been initiated to date. At a time when the country is experiencing the most serious threat to democracy in its recent history, speakers in this panel will take stock of oral history in Turkey. How do social actors define oral history, and why do they choose to engage in it? How do they conduct oral history? Who is their audience, and what are the products of their research? What is at stake in the proliferation of oral history research? What are the limits on oral history research, teaching and writing in our challenging times? The various and divergent perspectives and unique research experiences of the speakers will open up a debate on the state of society and oral history in Turkey today.