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New Book on Critical Pedagogy by Lâle Demirtürk

Department of American Culture and Literature faculty member Prof. E. Lâle Demirtürk has a new book. Prof. Demirtürk’s book, in Turkish, titled “Eleştirel Pedagoji: Bir Öğrenme ve Değişim Yolculuğu” was published by Cedit Yayınları in July 2017.

The volume, explains Prof. Demirtürk, offers an overview and exploration of the research relating to how critical pedagogy as a teaching approach, used for social transformation through education and inspired by critical theory and radical philosophies, attempts to enable students to challenge systems of domination and their embodied discursive practices. Critical pedagogy as a field of study asks the teacher to lead students to question oppressive ideologies and practices in an attempt to produce personal responses to their living conditions and habits. The student is expected, in the long run, to see through the problematic nature of the present society, and thus try to change the perceived oppression of individual freedom. Hence, the student dissociates himself/herself from blind submission to social norms in a transformative experience to achieve critical consciousness and become an independent agent of change.

While Prof. Demirtürk in her book gives examples from the Turkish educational system, she also connects this learning odyssey to the experience of teaching the African American novel in her classes at Bilkent. In this cross-cultural learning context, she notes, students can think about and explore how white Western supremacy is deconstructed by racioethnic writers such as the African American novelists, who demand equality and justice not only for black people in the United States, but for all human beings across the globe.