In 1975, the world-famous novelist Yaşar Kemal (1923–2015) undertook a series of journalistic interviews with street children in Istanbul. The series, entitled “Children Are Human” (Çocuklar İnsandır), reflects the author's rebellious attitude as well as the revolutionary spirit of hope in the 1970s in Turkey. Kemal's ethnographic fieldwork with street children criticized the demotion of children to a less-than-human status when present among adults. He approached children's rights from a human rights angle, stressing the humanity of children and that children's rights are human rights. The methodological contribution of this research to the history of children and youth is its engagement with ethnography as historical source. His research provided children the opportunity to express their political subjectivities and their understanding of the major political questions of the time, specifically those of social justice, (in)equality, poverty, and ethnic violence encountered in their everyday interactions with politics in the country. Yaşar Kemal's fieldwork notes and transcribed interviews also bring to light immense injustices within an intersectional framework of age, class, ethnicity, and gender. The author emphasizes that children's political agency and their political protest is deeply rooted in their subordination and misery, but also in their dreams and hopes. Situating Yaşar Kemal's “Children Are Human” in the context of the 1970s in Turkey, I hope to contribute to childhood studies with regard to the political agency of children as well as to the history of public intellectuals and newspapers in Turkey and to progressive representations of urban marginalization.
history of children
900 Geschichte und Geografie::950 Geschichte Asiens::956 Geschichte des Nahen Ostens (Mittleren Ostens)
“Revolution is the Equality of Children and Adults”: Yaşar Kemal Interviews Street Children, 1975
International Journal of Middle East Studies
Geschichts- und Kulturwissenschaften
Friedrich-Meinecke-Institut / Arbeitsbereich Neuere Geschichte
Open Access in Konsortiallizenz - Cambridge