TRANSFORMATION OF ACADEMIA IN TURKEY AND ITS IMPACTS ON GERMAN HIGHER EDUCATION
UNIVERSITY OF BREMEN (6TH DECEMBER 2017) HAUS DER WISSENSCHAFT, SANDSTRASSE 4/
This half-day conference will provide a forum to analyse and discuss about different aspects of a very present problem that is increasing number of academics who were displaced by political force from Turkey and exiled to Germany. The conference specifically aims to bring this issue into academic context and handle with it from a critical academic perspective within the discipline of Education Sciences.
Furthermore the conference would not only focus on academia in Turkey but also on German Higher Education within which exiled academics are presently sustaining their academic life.
The papers at the conference will picture out not only present conditions of academia in Turkey but also the historical process through which the Higher Education System went deep structural changes for the last few decades. In other words, there would be an aim to find out historical as well as structural dynamics that made it easier for an authoritarian regime to involve into universities through authoritarian measures and with the aim of re-ordering and re-shaping them in line with its nationalist-conservative ideology in Turkey. However this seems a unique experience, in fact academic freedom in producing critical views on particular sensitive topics is under threat not only in Turkey but also in many other parts of the world. In order to point out this general framework of new trends in Turkey, the conference would look at the issue of
academic freedom from a global perspective. Here the emphasis will be on the impacts of neoliberalism on Higher Education. Also there will be a focus on the alternative strategies and counter developments which might have the potential of challenging authoritarian developments in academic life. Within this general context of the conference, the first session would analyses transformation of specific academic
dicisplines (i.e. Gender studies, Kurdish studies, Psychology) in Turkey. Particularly disiciplines of gender studies and Kurdish studies are the onces that have been mostly effected by the rise of authoritarianism in Turkey in the last couple of years. However pscychology can be considered as an example for understanding negative impacts and outcomes of neoliberalism on a social sicence disipline.
In the second part of the conference there will be papers on the structural analysis of different Higher Education Systems. Within this context, there will be presentations and discussions on different examples of neoliberal and authoritarian modes of governing Higher Education Systems in different countries like England, Germany, Greece and Turkey. This session will also provide a context to see differences as well as similarities between different higher education systems in respect to their shared neoliberal context. Despite this general framework, we would like to make a zoom specifically on German Higher Education in which exiled academics continue their academic works. By expanding on all these issues, we hope to develop better understanding where present and possible future problems might derive from in German Higher Education System and how exiled academics might cope with them. This session might also help us to evolve and adapt more comprehensive and stronger alternative approaches, perspectives, strategies and plans to conduct not only for the safety of present exiled academics in Germany, but also for academic freedom and freedom of speech in general in the world. These presentations will be followed by a panel discussion by experts from interbranch organisations like “Heinrich-BöllStiftung” and political organisations like “Education and Science Workers’ Union” (GEW). Here we like to provide a shared context for both academics and activists and discus on the limitations and potentaisl that we have in the present system of Germany; share views on possible counter strategies and plans that might be conducted for the sake of academic freedom in Turkey and Germany.
So this last section would be more policy oriented and would aim to describe and bring out issues and problems as well as potentials related to the topic of the conference. The discussion will be run by Prof. Dr. Kader Konuk who would also rap up the whole conference with some final comments on the general outcomes that might be drawn from the conference.
First Session 13:15-14.45
Transformation of Social Disciplines in Academia in Turkey
(Coffee Break 15 min.)
Second Session 15.00-16.45
Impacts of Neoliberalism on Higher Education
(Coffee Break 15 min.)
Third Session 17.00-18.30
Panel Discussion on Potentials, Counter Strategies and Policies
***This conference is organized thanks to a financial support from “Bremen University Faculty of Education, Intercultural Education Unit” and from “The Philipp Schwartz Initiative of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation”***