News - Oral History Workshops

In recent years in Turkey, parallel to the growing interest in topics involving identity and the past, the interest in the study of oral history and memory has also grown. In Turkey, oral history and memory studies form a relatively new, interdisciplinary research area that has not yet really become institutionalized. Only a few universities offer courses in that field. NGOs and the media also show an interest in the topic but publications and educational resources are limited. Despite the fact that history – a discipline whose institutionalization goes back a long way – and the study of oral history and memory are very close areas of research, they have shared very few common projects. Given that the generation who witnessed the transition from Empire to Republic is gone and that the generation who saw the early years of the Republic is now around 80 years old, it is a great loss that oral history studies have not advanced more in Turkey. Both as individuals and as a society, an important way to learn about our past and to understand individual and social issues involves the recording and interpretation of individual, family and social life stories. This field of research must become more professionalized and institutionalized and the oral history method, which values the recollections of ordinary people, should become a method and area of investigation that ordinary people can easily access.  

In order to bring together common research areas involving history-oral history and memory studies and to provide educational and archival resources on oral history as well as to facilitate exhibitions and publications on the topic, the Ottoman Bank Archive and Research Center, in collaboration with Sabancı University, is planning certain activities for 2009.

First of all, there will be an Oral History/Memory Studies Educational Workshop. The workshop, organized by Assoc. Prof. Leyla Neyzi from Sabancı University, will be held at the Ottoman Bank Archive and Research Center on Saturday, January 31, and Sunday, February 1, 2009. Since there will be a limited number of participants, applicants should submit an e-mail request including their name and address, their reasons for wishing to attend and, if applicable, a short paragraph summarizing any current oral history project. Applications should be sent to neyzi@sabanciuniv.edu no later than December 31, 2008. (Any questions about the workshop may be sent to the same e-mail address.)

At the end of the workshop, weekly group sessions will take place starting Monday February 9, to help participants realize their oral history projects. The goal of these group sessions will be to foster scholarly oral history projects and create an open access archive for researchers. Oral history researchers will receive the guidance of history experts from the Ottoman Bank Archive and Research Center and benefit from the Center’s archive and library. Exhibitions and publications will also be undertaken in common.

Sabanci University, Oral History Workshops

Hurriyet Daily News, 19 March 2009