Teaching Transgression

Aykan Erdemir

by Aykan Erdemir

Coming of age in Turkey in the aftermath of the 1980 coup d’état meant banned people, banned books, and banned words. Nalan Göker, my high school literature teacher, belonged to that cohort of educators who, a decade after the military takeover, were still mourning the loss of lives, careers, and dreams. It was during those years that I learned not only the intricacies of grammar and belles-lettres from the strictest of teachers, but also the art of transgression from a defiant mentor. It was mastery of the latter that guided me through the travails of life, and mastery of the former that enabled me to share it with others.

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