Date

2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Arts

Department

Comparative and International Education

First Adviser

Silova, Iveta

Other advisers/committee members

Kong, Peggy; Nicholas, Mary

Abstract

The annexation of the Crimea, a former Autonomous Republic of Ukraine, by the Russian Federation that took place in March 2014 has had profound implications for every sphere of life in the region. The heated debate around the legitimacy of the annexation has caused multiple discussions on the local and international levels about the nation-building policies used throughout history by the Soviet and Ukrainian states that had control of the peninsula. Assumptions have also been made concerning the possible identity construction policies used by the Russian government towards their new citizens. Since primary education serves as an effective channel for instilling into populations the feelings of patriotism and loyalty to the state and its institutions, early literacy textbooks serve as a reflection of the dominant ideology of the state. This study is an attempt to examine the nature of education policies aimed at national identity (re)building processes in Crimea during the Soviet, Ukrainian, and the most recent Russian periods. Specifically, it aims to examine the role of primary education textbooks in promoting assimilation policies. Using critical discourse analysis of nine primers from the Soviet, Ukrainian, and Russian periods of Crimean governance, I analyze texts and illustrations in line with the following questions: How is Tatar national identity constructed in early literacy textbooks? What values are prioritized by the state? And how is Tatar childhood portrayed and imagined in textbooks? The findings of the research reveal that early literacy textbooks serve as a major tool of political socialization of children and reflect respective state ideologies dominant during each historical period.

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