History Teaching and the formation of National Identity: The Greek and Turkish Case Compared
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By H. Millas – Lecture “B” in the USA, University of Tuscon, Arizona and University of Brown, Rhode Island, November 2010



History Teaching and the formation of National Identity:

The Greek and Turkish Case Compared



     Most of us came across history and “our” past, for the first time and in a rather systematic way quite early in life, usually in primary schools. What I remember from my childhood is that this narration, naturally, was quite simplistic because it was meant to be for small children. This national history is full of stories which are nice to hear. Some are happy-end stories; they end up with our victories or with our successful struggles for liberation which secured our independent state. Some stories mention unhappy incidents and/or years, too. The sad side of a story usually is caused by forces which are understood as “our enemy”. In these narrations the unhappy part of our national history has a temporary character.[1] The sorrow part is understood as the price we have to pay to secure what is sacred: our country, our identity, our honor, the memory of ancestors, etc.

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[1] As a Greek anthem says:  Η Ελλάδα ποτέ δεν πεθαίνει,μόνο λίγο καιρό ξαποσταίνει και ξανά προς τη δόξα τραβά (Greece never dies.. only rests a little and sets up for glory again.)


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