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Turkey Center Curriculum Committee Report:

Pedar Foss, DePauw University, GLCA
Nayef Samhat, Centre College, ACS
Vernon Schubel, Kenyon College, GLCA

REVISED 24 May 00

The Turkey Center will begin as a Fall-term program located primarily in Ankara (partnering with METU and Bilkent), with the beginning of the core-course taking place in Istanbul.

Students will begin preparation for their stay in Turkey by participating in an on-line preparation seminar. The parameters for this on-line seminar are being worked out by the On-line Course Committee (R. Schindler, L. Rittenberg, S. Bonefas).

1. Language study:

Intensive language study is required for the first 4 weeks, taking place 2 hours per day. During the regular semester, Turkish language study will continue.*

*Note: In rare cases a student may petition to be exempted from the Turkish language requirement in Ankara. Students must make a strong academic argument for such an exemption and the petition must be accepted both by the student's home institution and the program's selection committee. The program strongly encourages the study of language. In most cases preference will be given to applicants who will continue their study of Turkish for the duration of the program. For further information contact the ACS office (or other contact person).

2a. Core-course, month 1:

The core-course and language study consists of two parts: a 4-week intensive session before the partner Turkish universities (METU and Bilkent) begin their semester, and continuing study during the Turkish semester. The core-course is required of all students, and provides a general introduction to the history, politics, economics, religions, and lifeways of Turkey.

The 4-wk. Intensive Session would be overseen by participating ACS-ACM-GLCA faculty, with possible guest lecturers from Turkish partner institutions. During the Turkish academic semesters, students will have the opportunity to take courses at the member Turkish institutions, and/or specialized courses taught by participating American faculty.

The core-course and language study could work as follows:
Note 1: a typical American semester of 14 weeks,
3 hours/wk. = 42 contact hours (3 credit-course)
4 hours/wk. = 56 contact hours (4 credit-course)
5 hours/wk. = 70 contact hours (5 credit-course)

Note 2: in the core-course, the nearer trip (Week 2) is done completely by land (bus); the further trip (Week 4), in order not to spend 2 days on a bus, includes an air-ticket. It is easy and cheap to do a round-trip on Turkish Air that arrives in one city and leaves from another.

Fall: language sessions: 2 hrs./day, 5 days/wk. = 40 hours (roughly equivalent to [1] 3-credit course) core-course: 2.5 hrs./day, 5 days/wk (Weeks 1,3) + 3 hrs./day, 5 days/wk (Weeks 2,4)= 55 hours.

4-week intensive session, possible schedule:

Week 1 (Istanbul)
5 days: 2 hours intensive language/day, 2.5 hours/day, split into 2 sessions, on the following topics, all overviews. Sessions may include visits to sites and museums in Istanbul.
1) Ancient History, Paleolithic-Byzantine
2) Ottoman History, to ca. 1900
3) History of the Turkish Republic
4) Politics and the Economy in modern Turkey
5) Religions and Cultural Lifeways in modern Turkey

Week 2, on the road (e.g. northwest Turkey)
5 days: 2 hours intensive language/day; ca. 3 hours/day, on-site learning. Sites may include:
6) Eskisehir (mining town), Midas Sehri (important Phrygian tombs)
7) Kutahya (decisive WW I battle, ceramic tile industry), Aizanoi (best preserved temple in Turkey)
8) Sardis (ancient Lydian capital)
9) Pergamon (ancient Pergamene capital)
10) Assos, Troy, Gallipoli

Week 3 (Istanbul)
5 days: 2 hours intensive language/day, 2.5 hours/day, split into 2 sessions, on the following topics, all overviews. Sessions may include visits to sites and museums in Istanbul.

11) Topics: environmental issues, cultural patrimony
12) Topics: current political parties, religious movements
13) Topics: Turkey and Central Asia, Turkey and the 'Middle East'
14) Topics: Turkey and Europe, science and medicine in Turkey
15) Topics: Turkish music, literature and folk arts

Week 4, on the road (e.g. southwest Turkey)
5 days: 2 hours intensive language/day; ca. 3 hours/day, on-site learning. Sites may include: 16) Izmir (airport)
17) Seljuk-Ephesos
18) Priene, Miletus, Didyma
19) Herakleia, Iasos, Milas
20) Labraunda, Bodrum (Halikarnassos)/Datca (airport)

Note 3: Some travel options in weeks 2 and 4, for central and southern Turkey, are listed below:

21) Gordion (ancient Phrygian capital, 106 km. W of Ankara, near town of Yassihoyuk)
22) Konya and Çatal Hoyuk (nearly the oldest town in human history; 50 km SE of Konya)
23) Ihlara (Byzantine town and monasteries; 45 km SE of Aksaray)
24) Nevsehir-Kayseri (Göreme, Kaymakli and Derinkuyu of Cappadoccia + Hacibektash)
25) Bogazkoy and Yazilikaya (ancient Hittite capital and religious center); Amasya (ancient Pontic capital and meeting-place where Ataturk forged principles of Turkish independence); also consider Kastamonu? and Safranbolu (well-preserved Ottoman town)
26) Dalaman (airport), Fethiye
27) Xanthos, Patara
28) Kas, Myra, Limyra
29) Olympos, Phaselis
30) Antalya: Perge, Aspendos, Side; Termessos (airport)

The composition of the trips may vary in detail from year to year depending on the guiding faculty members. However, they should always include visits to the entire range (ancient, Ottoman, and modern) of sites and experiences in Turkey, particularly pre-Ottoman material, which students will otherwise largely miss when they are stationed in Istanbul or Ankara. We do not want to set absolute itineraries, since we should exploit the expertise of the leaders of the trips, but students and faculty need to be able to rely upon a consistent quality and proportion of material from year to year. To this end, we would suggest that on each trip, two faculty members attend the group: one whose expertise is ancient (pre-Ottoman) studies, and one whose expertise is in post-Ottoman material. Students can then expect to have the full range of their questions answered, and it will be easier for 2 faculty to organize and direct a group of students, than one faculty member alone.

Also, while the core-course during the trips is counted for 3 hours, students may find themselves spending a bit more actual time seeing things. The 3 hours should be considered the actual time for lectures, demonstrations, etc., on-site, not counting travel-time. Because in a normal course, students may be expected to do 2 hours of study outside the classroom for every hour they spend in the classroom, this should provide an equivalent experience. Students should also expect homework for the intensive Turkish language course during the trips.

Note 4: It is suggested that we should build in a short break, if possible, between the end of the intensive session and the start of semester classes at the partner Turkish Institutions, though the revised month-long schedules presented here are somewhat less taxing than the original design.

2b. The core-course during the semester:

The core-course will take up 1.5 hrs./wk. during the semester. This session, easily scheduled around the scheduled classes students are taking at the Turkish universities, could serve as a way for all members of the program, students and faculty, to keep in contact, provide reports of their experience or research, or attend special lectures by American or Turkish speakers.

The 1.5 hour session would comprise 21 hours during the term (+ 55 hours during the intensive session = 76 hours, in which case the entire core-course would equal one 5-credit course.

Evaluation for the core-course:
1) A journal for the travel section of the core-course, to document and process what students have seen, including the on-site lectures, the travel, and every-day experiences and encounters they have had in Turkey.
2) An exam at the end of the month-long session (testing broad, basic knowledge about Turkey).
3) A term-paper, 10-12 pages, concerning a particular research topic of interest (ancient, modern, political or religious, etc.) to the student. Due at the end of the Turkish semester, allowing the student to do research, use the libraries, etc. Topics must be approved by attending faculty members. Students should give a report on their research topic to the faculty and students during the 1.5-hour meeting towards the end of the Turkish semester.
4) Class and trip participation. Besides doing background reading, participating in discussions and asking questions, each student prepares one mini-report (10-15 min.) to deliver at one of the sites on one of the trips (examples: the design of a mosque in a particular town, the course of some important battle, or artifacts from a famous ancient grave). Attending faculty compose a list of topics before the term starts, and randomly assign each student a mini-report topic. These topics could even be distributed before students arrive in Turkey, so they have the chance to start their research in the US. Hopefully students get a topic outside their specific area of interest, and thereby broaden their knowledge. Students will prepare a hand-out on their topic for their fellow-students (with bibliography, images or plans, and an outline), but they do not hand in a formal written document. They are graded on the quality of their presentation and their handout.

Bilkent has a more American-style academic calendars, with just-adequate spacing between terms. METU has a calendar that does not work as well with the American academic calendar, with less than a 4-week break between fall and spring terms during which the intensive session could easily take place, although they are in the process of changing their calendar towards an American system. We will need to work carefully to see if we can schedule a program that works with both systems. All calendars below are for the 1999-2000 year.

Bilkent University, Ankara (calendars at:


9-12 Sept.: course registration (on-line)
13 Sept. - 24 Dec.: fall classes
27 Dec. - 6 Jan.: final examinations


3-6 Feb.: course registration (on-line)
7 Feb. - 18 May.: spring classes
22-31 May: final examinations

Given these schedules, we can suggest that the month-long intensive session take place during the last 2 weeks of August and first 2 weeks of September.

It seems that there may be some slight overlap between the 4-wk. session and final exams or registration periods of some of the Turkish institutions. This will probably have to be worked out every year.

We have to think about computer equipment for the students. Perhaps laptop computers, half PC and half Macintosh, with printers, that reside at the center could serve for students writing their papers. We will need to get students library access right away, and access to photocopy machines for their papers and reports.

4-wk. intensive session (required):

  • 1 Turkish language course = 1 (3-credit-hour) course
  • 1 core-course (extending into the semester) = 1 (5-credit-hour) course

semester (two options):

  • 1 Turkish language course + 3 classes at Turkish universities or from Center faculty,
  • OR (with a special exemption only): 4 classes at Turkish universities or from Center faculty

We hope this is a rigorous, high-standards, exciting program that provides a consistent, coherent and comprehensive experience for all students, while incorporating enough flexibility for students of all interests to be able to participate.





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