History and Knowledge: A Way out to Regain an Authentic Agency


It is a well-known fact that studies in philosophy and the social sciences in Turkey are mostly subjected to a western-centered way of producing knowledge as a result of the modernization process that has proceeded for nearly two centuries and has witnessed some radical structural breaks with the past. Behind this institutional and discursive issue lies a question to be answered: Does any use of a “Western” produced concept, technique or institution, or, in other words, any vehicle of epistemological production hailing from “West” an imaginary historicogeographic space and time, mean categorical dependency or imitation? Taking this question as its point of departure, this article aims to show how the question of knowledge is closely related to the conception of history, and to inquire into the modernist presumptions regarding the source of legitimate knowledge as well as the Eurocentric narration of history that structurally imposes itself in all intellectual institutions. History and knowledge are two main issues that reveal the existential ground on which an authentic agency may constitute itself. A field of intellectual production peculiar to Turkey is possible only by going beyond the politically constructed representations such as “East-West” and thinking through the question of subjectivity in a non- Eurocentric sense of history.


Eurocentrism Conceptionof History Occidentalism Ottoman-Turkish Modernization Episteme