This podcast is the record of Professor Nora Şeni’s talk at the Conference of Sociology Department of Boğaziçi University. As part of the “Sociological Imaginations” talk series, Nora Şeni made a talk titled “Absence of Memory Politics in Turkey” (22 December 2020).
“After Second World War and particularly after the decade of 1970 memory issues became important elements of public policies, domestic and international. As a result, the strategies resulting from arbitrations and balances between plural, competing and conflicting memories are elements of contemporary politics and geopolitical issues. In the post-Holocaust (but I will use the word Shoah and will explain why) European picture, Turkey is one of the countries that remained neutral and, on whose borders, the SWW came to an end. Not having participated in it, and for reasons that have to do with its own history, Turkey did not “feel” concerned by the major questions and existential doubts as a civilization that the discovery of the death camps has addressed to Western civilization. Turkish intellectuals, artists and scholars remained foreign, indifferent, as much to the dread and dismay as to the doubts and debates aroused in Europe at the end of the war. From this point of view, Turkey and its elites remained outside what became European identity, its sensibility and culture after World War II. I will discuss the mechanisms and consequences of this “externality” of the Turkish educational, intellectual, artistic and media world on the political evolution in these last decades.”