Assoc. Prof. Tahire Erman from the Department of Political Science and Public Administration and Dr. Serpil Özaloğlu from the Department of Interior Architecture and Environmental Design are the editors of a new book published by Koç University Press. “Bir Varmış Bir Yokmuş: Bellek, Mekan ve Kimlik Üzerine Araştırmalar” (There Was and There Was Not: Studies on Collective Memory, Space and Identity) is a compilation of selected papers presented at a 2013 conference on “Memory and Culture” held jointly by the Turkish Cultural Studies Association and Bilkent University. Dr. Erman and Dr. Özaloğlu served on the organizing committee for the event.

The publisher’s notes on the book offer the following description of its content:

“As we remember and forget individually, we also remember and forget collectively. One of the indispensible components of collective memory is space. It conveys, shapes and transforms collective memory. What we remember, how we remember and where we remember has a direct relation with space. In the book ‘Bir Varmış Bir Yokmuş,’ discussion of the relation between collective memory and space is reopened, with researchers from various disciplines endeavoring to clarify the last seventy years of rapid social (and spatial) transformation in Turkey by following the traces left in memories by spaces and in spaces by memories. What changed when families in İstanbul moved from wooden mansions to apartment flats? Did dams in Artvin wipe out only villages? How were the memories of victims of urban transformation transformed in relation to their past in gecekondus? How does a prison that was converted into a museum reconstruct individual and collective memories? How was the 1980 coup d’etat remembered in literature and cinema?

“‘Bir Varmış Bir Yokmuş’ gives the complex mechanism of memory its due; this brand-new study shows us that to remember something does not mean to own it, and to forget something does not mean to lose it.”

Bilkent News