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2012 Global Seminars


Islam, Empire, and Modernity: Turkey and the Caliphs to the 21st Century


Two-thousand twelve marks the fifth year PIIRS will offer a Global Seminar in Turkey. “Islam, Empire and Modernity: Turkey from the Caliphs to the 21st Century” will be taught in in Istanbul, Turkeyfrom June 11 to July 20, 2011. Led by Chair of the Department of Near Eastern Studies M. Șükrü Hanioğlu and Senior Lecturer in Turkish Erika Gilson, the seminar introduces students to the rich history, culture, language, and literature of Turkey.
As the capital of the Eastern Roman and Ottoman empires, Istanbul was the seat of military might, ceremonial pomp, and official state policy for sixteen centuries. Like Turkey, the city is a bridge between two cultures, two continents, and two major religions. Recently Istanbul and Turkey have been undergoing a fresh cultural renaissance, powered in large part by the impetus to join Europe. Through the Global Seminar in Turkey, students expand their knowledge of a major culture's past and present. In addition to the classroom sessions that include discussions on different aspects of Turkish culture, students are encouraged to explore Istanbul—ultimately, Istanbul itself becomes the classroom.
The seminar begins with ancient civilizations and ends with Turkey in the twenty-first century. It provides an analysis of change and continuity in Turkish society with a strong focus on history and on major cultural transformations. Students read at least one book on a major subject to be discussed in the course.
This course fulfills the Historical Analysis (HA) general requirement and is open to freshman, sophomores, and juniors. Admission is by application and interview.
The Global Seminar in Istanbul, Turkey, is cosponsored by the Program in Near Eastern Studies.