The 1970s

The credit of being the pioneers of criticizing ethnocentrism in textbooks goes to Mete Tun^ay on the Turkish side and to Anna Frangoudaki and Alexis Heraclides on the Greek side. Historian Tun^ay exposed in a 1975 conference in Ankara on history teaching the “chauvinism” of the textbooks of primary and secondary education (Tun^ay, 1977). Frangoudaki in her book on ideological enforcement and pedagogical violence in primary education—in particular, in the chapter allocated to history—criticizes the nationalist approach of the school books (Frangoudaki, 1978). Heraclides aproached the Greek textbooks as a problem that caused conflict between Greeks and Turks (and Bulgarians). His content analysis showed the existence of “black and white” images of the “other” versus the “self” (Heraclides, 1980).

Worldwide textbook criticism had started earlier globally after the First World War by the League of Nations and it was further advanced by the UNESCO after the Second World War. The main concern was political and the basic purpose was to promote peace by fighting nationalist discourse. In Turkey and Greece, too, the bilateral relations were in mind when the textbooks were criticized by the limited number of individuals and only as late as the 1970s. It should be also noted that both Greece and Turkey in these years had brought down the military regimes and enjoyed a more democratic milieu.

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