A collective memory in production: gender politics of 1938 in Turkey

  • Ozlem GonerEmail author

A collective memory in production: gender politics of 1938 in Turkey1

In 1938, the Turkish state undertook a series of massacres in Dersim, a Kurdish-Alevi municipality in Eastern Turkey, killing thousands of people and forcing thousands more to move out of the town. The massacres were part of a genocidal project to exterminate any potential opposition from the Alevi, Kurdish, and Armenian residents of Dersim and to impose Sunni-Turkish identity on these groups. The event remained unacknowledged within official Turkish history and was not publicly discussed in Dersim until the newly found Dersim foundations in and outside of Turkey and a new generation of memory collectors introduced oral history and documentary projects to publicize the event. When I started my research on state violence, memory, and identity in Dersim in 2008, there was some interest in the topic, some discussions of the event and its repercussions in the diaspora-based journals, and two documentaries that could gain...



  1. Akcam, Cahit. 2007. Unutturulanlar III: Maras Katliami. Documentary. Acilim Arastirma Belgeleme Filmcilik.Google Scholar
  2. Algör, İlhami. 2010. Ma sekerdo kardaş?: “Dersim 38” tanıklıkları. Istanbul: Doğan Kitap.Google Scholar
  3. Allen, Beverly. 1996. Rape warfare: The hidden genocide in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia. University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  4. Altınay, Ayşe Gül, and Fethiye Çetin. 2009. Torunlar. Istanbul: Metis.Google Scholar
  5. Altınay, Ayşe Gül, and Andrea Pető, eds. 2016. Gendered Wars, Gendered Memories: Feminist Conversations on War, Genocide and Political Violence. 1st ed. Farnham, Surrey; Burlington: Routledge.Google Scholar
  6. Anderson, Kathryn, and Dana Jack. 1998. Learning to Listen: Interview Techniques and Analyses. In The Oral History Reader, ed. Robert Perks and Alistair Thomson, 2nd ed., 129–142. London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  7. Auyero, Javier. 2003. Contentious Lives: Two Argentine Women, Two Protests, and the Quest of Recognition. Durham and London: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Ayata, Bilgin, and Serra Hakyemez. 2013. The AKP’s engagement with Turkey’s past crimes: An analysis of PM Erdogan’s Dersim apology. Dialectical Anthropology 37 (1): 131–143.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bal, Mieke, Jonathan V. Crewe, and Leo Spitzer. 1999. Acts of memory: Cultural recall in the present. In Hanover and London: UPNE.Google Scholar
  10. Benderly, Jill. 1997. Balkans: Rape, Feminism, and Nationalism in the War in Yugoslav Successor State. In Feminist Nationalism, ed. Lois A. West, 59–72. New York and London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  11. Besikci, Ismail. 1990. Tunceli Kanunu ve Dersim Jenosidi. Istanbul: Belge.Google Scholar
  12. Bilmez, Bülent, Gülay Kayacan, and Şükrü Aslan. 2011. Belleklerdeki Dersim ‘38: Kuşaklararası sözlü tarih projesi alan, araştırması raporu : Toplumsal bellek, kuşaklararası aktarim ve algı : Dersim ‘38’i hatırlamak: Ekim 2011. Istanbul: Tarih Vakfi.Google Scholar
  13. Çetin, Fethiye. 2010. Anneannem. Istanbul: Metis Yayınları.Google Scholar
  14. Demirel, Cayan. 2009. Prison No 5: 1980-1984. Documentary. Surela Film.Google Scholar
  15. Doğan, Yalçın. 2012. Savrulanlar: Dersim, 1937–1938 hatta 1939. Istanbul: Kirmizikedi Yayinevi.Google Scholar
  16. Ekmekcioglu, L. 2016. Recovering Armenia: The limits of belonging in post-genocide Turkey. Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Fındık, Özgür. 2012. Kara vagon: Dersim-kırım ve sürgün. Istanbul: Fam.Google Scholar
  18. Goner, Ozlem. 2017. Turkish National Identity and its outsiders: Memories of state violence in Dersim. Milton Park: Taylor & Francis.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Green, Linda. 2010. Fear as a way of life: Mayan widows in rural Guatemala. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Hirsch, Marianne. 2012. The generation of Postmemory: Writing and visual culture after the holocaust. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Hirsch, Marianne, and Valerie Smith. 2002. Feminism and cultural memory: An introduction. Signs 28 (1): 1–19. Scholar
  22. Irmak, Cagan. 2004. Cemberimde Gul Oya. Kanal D.Google Scholar
  23. Kaplan, Temma. 2002. Reversing the shame and gendering the memory. Signs 28 (1): 179–199. Scholar
  24. Levi, Primo. 2017. The drowned and the saved. New York: Simon and Schuster.Google Scholar
  25. Lyotard, J.-F. (1991). Phenomenology (B. Beakley, Trans.). Albany: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  26. Mookherjee, N. 2015. The spectral wound: Sexual violence, public memories, and the Bangladesh war of 1971. Durham: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Neyzi, Leyla. 1999. Gülümser’s story: Life history narratives, memory and belonging in Turkey. New Perspectives on Turkey 20 (Spring): 1–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Neyzi, Leyla. 2005. Strong as steel, fragile as a rose: A Turkish Jewish witness to the twentieth century. Jewish Social Studies, New Series 12 (1): 167–189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Neyzi, Leyla. 2010. Oral History and Memory Studies in Turkey. In Turkey’s Engagement with Modernity: Conflict and Change in the Twentieth Century, ed. Celia Kerslake, Kerem Oktem, and Philip Robins. London and New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  30. Olick, Jeffrey K., and Daniel Levy. 1997. Collective memory and cultural constraint: Holocaust myth and rationality in German politics. American Sociological Review 62 (6): 921–936. Scholar
  31. Onis, Ziya. 2013. Sharing power: Turkey’s democratization challenge in the age of the AKP hegemony. Insight Turkey 15 (2): 103–122.Google Scholar
  32. Parks, Robert, and Alistair Thomson. 1998. The Oral History Reader. 2nd ed. London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  33. Pogačar, Martin. 2016. Media archaeologies, micro-archives and storytelling: Re-Presencing the past. Berlin: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Portelli, Alessandro. 1991. The death of Luigi Trastulli and other stories: Form and meaning in oral history. Albany: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  35. Radstone, Susannah. 2005. Reconcieving binaries: The limits of memory. History Workshop Journal 59: 134–150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Radstone, Susannah, and Bill Schwarz, eds. 2010. Memory: histories, theories, debates. New York: Fordham University Press.Google Scholar
  37. Reid-Cunningham, Allison Ruby. 2008. Rape as a weapon of genocide. Genocide Studies and Prevention: An International Journal 3: 279–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Skjelsbæk, I. 2012. The political psychology of war rape: Studies from Bosnia and Herzegovina. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Tachjian, Vahé. 2009. Gender, nationalism, exclusion: The reintegration process of female survivors of the Armenian Genocide. Nations and Nationalism 15 (1): 60–80. Scholar
  40. Taş, Cemal. 2010. Dağların kayıp anahtarı: Dersim 1938 anlatıları. Istanbul: İletişim.Google Scholar
  41. Taş, Cemal. 2016. Agitlarin Diliyle Dersim 38 Tertele. Istanbul: Z Kalan.Google Scholar
  42. Tepe, Sultan. 2005. Turkey’s AKP: A model ‘Muslim-democratic’ party? Journal of Democracy 16 (3): 69–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Ulusoy, Kivanc. 2010. The ‘democratic opening’ in Turkey: A historical/comparative Perspectice. Insight Turkey 12 (2): 71–90.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology and Anthropology, College of Staten IslandCUNYNew York CityUSA

Personalised recommendations