Positivist Impact on theTeaching of History in Turkey: An Evaluation on HistoryTextbooks (1930-1938)
 
Abstract
This study aims to reveal the reflections of positivist thought, the main method and determiner of Ottoman-Turkish modernization, on the historiography in the early Republican period. Through in-depth analysis of history textbooks in which Turkish History Thesis was concretized, this case study analyzes the reflections of positivism in high school history textbooks in the early Republican period, and produces a case description. Five books in total were analyzed in the study, Hihg School History 1, 2, 3, and 4 as well as Outlines of Turkish History, which were studied in the 1930s. Document analysis was employed for data collection. The collected data were subjected to content analysis under various themes. The study revealed that history textbooks reflect positivist perspective. In summary, it was observed that the history textbooks under analysis reject all forms of metaphysical thought and make explanations for such situations in which it was exercised. With the rejection of the metaphysical, these books highlight the importance of secular thought. With examples from Turkish history, a direct relationship between secular thought and progress is established. Finally, the analysis shows that regular reformations and social progress discourse, which are elements of positivist thought, are also deeply embedded in the textbooks under study. The reasoning for revolutions in the direction of modernization is manifested, and students are appointed to protect and look after it.
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