MA in Turkish Studies (Thesis) (in English)

MA in Turkish Studies (in English)

Turkey has become a critically important country. It constitutes an interface between the West and the Islamic world. It is playing a key role in a very troubled Middle East. Large Turkish diasporas have emerged in Europe and the US. For these and other reasons, there is rising international interest in learning about modern Turkey. But on the other side of the coin, there is also a certain lack of deep-going comprehension — about everything that Turkey has gone through in the 19th and 20th centuries. And that failure of multi-perspectivity prevails inside the country as well as abroad. Today, what is on the agenda is nothing less than rethinking and rewriting that whole history.

From the early-19th century’s very first Tanzimat reforms onward, the late Ottoman Empire evolved into a bridge between the West and the Orient. At the same time, the blend or mixture that it represented was frequently overtaken through major paradigmatic shifts or landslides. The Republic’s first thirst years, for example, witnessed the imposition of a One Party state’s authoritarian national developmentalism from the top down. This was followed by a “middle period” over 1950-2000 when each successive wave of civic opposition and democratization kept reaching a higher watermark, only to be interrupted by yet another army coup and resulting military régime. Then in the early-21st century, a new conservative movement emerged that was able to hold on to its rightful place on the political stage. In turn, this led to an unprecedentedly long period of relative stability and growing affluence over the last two decades.

This complex, zigzag evolution, however, has become the subject of different, indeed contrasting interpretations on both a national and an international scale, perhaps going hand in hand with the increasing methodological or conceptual difficulties encountered by the social sciences in dealing with transformations that do not easily fit linear blueprints of uni-dimensional Westernizing progress. Furthermore, Turkey’s non-Kemalist turn was accompanied by profound crises of state failure in Iraq and Syria, and the fracturing impact of such major earthquakes confronted Turkish political life with challenges and stress lines that could have proved too much for many other societies.

What is the outside world likely to be missing about Turkey? Similarly, are there things that Turkey (or Turks) might be missing about the West, or about the world at large? Up closer, what are the forces or factors that have been holding Turkey together? In itself, this is a typically Ibn Haldunian asabiyyah problem; at the same time, it articulates into so many other questions that analyzing and rendering them generally comprehensible requires a serious capacity for inter-cultural translation. This is not only a major bottleneck but equally an opportunity. It provides a context, a laboratory, virtually obliging us not just to react but to contemplate.

This, however, can only be achieved on the basis of both multicultural and interdisciplinary programs that are deliberately open and eclectic in outlook. The requisite sort of deep understanding and sensitivity can be obtained not through any one discipline (such as History, Sociology, Economics or Political Science) but perhaps through a combination of all.

In a country criss-crossed by so many global, regional and national fault-lines, with its all-embracing Open Civilization philosophy Ibn Haldun University is uniquely placed to tackle such seemingly existential, intractable problems. It has the staff and the intellectual enthusiasm needed to offer a range of micro-level courses and academic specialties that cannot be found elsewhere. We propose to build our Turkish Studies MA and future PhD programs into a welcoming, cradling, user-friendly environment for multilateral dialogue, scholarship, and cultural interaction, through which we can admit generations of elite students into the cultural intimacy of a complicated, thriving, throbbing society.

Program Coordinator:

Prof. Dr. Halil Berktay

Scope and Coverage:

As previously indicated, the Turkish Studies MA program is highly interdisciplinary, comıprising a strong language preparation (in both Modern and Ottoman Turkish) as well as courses in History, Economics, Sociology, Anthropology, and Political Science. Hence it embodies a broader approach than all these other programs, which propose to bring the analytical instruments and capacities of a single discipline to bear on this reality that we call Turkey. In contrast, Turkish Studies seeks to embrace a multiplicity of insights in tackling Turkey from a variety of historical, political, cultural, sociological and economic standpoints.

Target Audiences:

(1) Inevitably, some of our MA graduates will want to pursue a PhD, too, in Turkish Studies. At the moment, there is no such free-standing Turkish Studies PhD program in Turkey or elsewhere, including Western academia. At Ibn Haldun University, however, we are planning to launch our Turkish Studies doctorate as of the next academic year (2018-2019), and we shall be applying to YÖK (the Turkish Board of Higher education) to do so. Of course, this is likely to serve as a welcome outlet for all existing MA programs in the field, though IHU graduates may have the advantage of a more integrated vision, and therefore better long-term planning, from the outset.

(2) Meanwhile, the inter-disciplinary openness and flexibility of our Turkish Studies MA program means that our graduates should be strong candidates for PhD programs in other branches of the Humanities and Social Sciences, too, such as History or Political Science.

(3) Alternatively, both the thesis and non-thesis tracks of the Turkish Studies MA may be regarded as a final exit degree for many public or private sector careers requiring, or benefiting from, a solidly grounded familiarity with Turkey’s past or present. Such promising areas of future employment might comprise various countries’ civil or diplomatic services, multinational corporations or law firms, media outlets or tourism companies as well as non-governmental organizations of all kinds.

(4) Particularly important in this regard may be the ability of IHU’s Turkish Studies MA program to challenge some shopworn clichés or stereotypes, and build new East-West bridges. Ten or fifteen years from now, for example, some of our graduates might find themselves sitting on opposite sides of the table at international conferences, and engaging in serious dialogue, indeed some hard talk and bargaining, as both Turkey’s and some other countries’ diplomats. But if they have been through Turkish Studies at IHU, we can hope that they will not be prejudiced against each other; further, that they will be aware of each other’s cultural premises, and deal with current problems without slipping into Orientalistic condescension or Occidentalistic defensiveness. If this were to be even partially realized, it would have to be counted as our greatest achievement at IHU Turkish Studies.

The MA Program in Turkish Studies offers students a broad spectrum of courses and seminars in History, Sociology, Anthropology, Political Science, and Economics.

To graduate with an MA degree from the thesis-track of the program, students have to fulfill all course-work requirements, involving

  • a minimum of four (4) required and six (6) elective courses (for a total of 30 credits);
  • the compulsory but non-credit TS 500 seminar;
  • the compulsory but non-credit TS 501 course in Research Methods and Publication Ethics;  as well as
  • researching, writing and submitting a supervised MA thesis on a previously approved topic.

Students are normally expected to graduate at the end of two years (or four semesters). This is also the standard duration of all scholarships. But in certain special circumstances, if, at the end of four semesters, (a) the student has completed all his/her coursework; (b) achieved a GPA of 3.00 or higher; and (c) has submitted a doable thesis proposal as part of the TS 500 seminar, as recommended by his/her advisor and approved by the Social Sciences Institute he/she may be granted additional time purely for thesis completion purposes, during which time all financial aid is discontinued while the student is expected to pay a reduced retainer’s fee instead of full tuition.

Language courses: Neither Modern Turkish or Ottoman Turkish are required, though both are highly recommended. Thus, native or comparably advanced/fluent speakers  of Modern Turkish might do well to invest in Ottoman Turkish depending on their future plans, while international students should find it profitable to start with Modern Turkish and attain at least upper intermediate proficiency before going on to Ottoman Turkish. Students in the thesis-track may have a maximum of four (4) TUR-coded Modern Turkish or TLL-coded Ottoman Turkish courses (to be selected from the comprehensive elective courses pool given below) counted toward their graduation requirements. They may, of course, take additional TUR or TLL courses, though these will not count for completing the minimum 30 credits required for graduation.

Other electives: MA students in the thesis-track may select a minimum of six (6) elective courses from the comprehensive Turkish Studies course pool given below.

Students may choose to utilize this broad range of courses in order to concentrate (i) on a particular discipline, such as HIST, POLS, SOC or ECON; or else (ii) a specific period or multi-dimensional problem; as well as (iii) to build a different or more varied formation for themselves. In any case, students may want to take at most two courses from outside the Turkish Studies elective pool. All such applications are decided in the light of individual students’ specific needs and requirements, and on a case-by-case basis.

1st Semester
Code Course Name Theory Practice Credit ECTS
TS 500 MA Pro-Seminar 3 0 0 3
TS 501 Research Methods and Publication Ethics 3 0 3 3
POLS 505 Turkish Politics 3 0 3 8
TS … Elective Course 3 0 3 8
TS … Elective Course 3 0 3 8
TS … Elective Course 3 0 3 8
Total 15 38
2nd Semester
Code Course Name Theory Practice Credit ECTS
HIST 572 From Empire to Republic: Turkish Nationalism and the Nation-State 3 0 3 8
ECON 546 An Economic History of Modern Turkey 3 0 3 8
SOC 508 Religion in Modern Turkey 3 0 3 8
TS … Elective Course 3 0 3 8
Total 12 32
3rd Semester
Ders Kodu Ders Adı Teori Uygulama Kredi ECTS
TS … Elective Course 3 0 0 8
TS … Elective Course 8
TS 599 MA Thesis 30
Total 0 46
4th Semester
Code Course Name Theory Practice Credit ECTS
TS 599 MA Thesis 30
Total 0 30
Grand Total 27 146
Fall Term
Code Course Name Theory Practice Credit ECTS
TS 500 MA Pro-Seminar 3 0 0 3
TS 501 Research Methods and Publication Ethics 3 0 3 8
POLS 505 Turkish Politics 3 0 3 8
Spring Term
HIST 572 From Empire to Republic: Turkish Nationalism and the Nation-State 3 0 3 8
ECON 546 An Economic History of Modern Turkey 3 0 3 8
SOC 508 Religion in Modern Turkey 3 0 0 8
Code Course Name Theory Practice Credit ECTS
Modern Turkish
TUR 501 Basic Modern Turkish I 3 0 3 8
TUR 502 Basic Modern Turkish II 3 0 3 8
TUR 503 Intermediate Modern Turkish I 3 0 3 8
TUR 504 Intermediate Modern Turkish II 3 0 3 8
TUR 505 Advanced Readings in Modern Turkish I 3 0 3 8
TUR 506 Advanced Readings in Modern Turkish II 3 0 3 8
Ottoman Turkish 3 0 3 8
TLL 501 Basic Ottoman Turkish I 3 0 3 8
TLL 502 Basic Ottoman Turkish II 3 0 3 8
TLL 503 Ottoman Paleography and Diplomatica 3 0 3 8
TLL 504 Advanced Readings in Ottoman Historical Texts 3 0 3 8
HIST 505 Introduction to Orientalism and Oriental Studies 3 0 3 8
HIST 508 Oral History 3 0 3 8
HIST 511 Early Islamic History: A Survey (to AD 1100) 3 0 3 8
HIST 512 Islmic History: The Middle Period (c.945-1500) 3 0 3 8
HIST 515 History of the Modern Middle East (to the 1920s) 3 0 3 8
HIST 533 Religion in the Ottoman Empire 3 0 3 8
HIST 536 History of a City II: Ottoman Istanbul, 1450-1900 3 0 3 8
HIST 540 Sources and Methods for Ottoman History, 1300-1600 3 0 3 8
HIST 550 Sources and Methods for Ottoman History, 1600-1800 3 0 3 8
HIST 562 Modernization and Reform in the Ottoman Empire 3 0 3 8
HIST 571 From “Far Asia” to the Mediterranean: Turkish History, Turkey’s History 3 0 3 8
Political Science and International Relations
POLS 507 Turkey from 1980 to the Present 3 0 3 8
POLS 509 Identity and Ethnicity in Modern Turkey 3 0 3 8
POLS 512 Turkish Foreign Policy 3 0 3 8
ECON 545 Current Issues in the Turkish Economy 3 0 3 8
SOC 511 Ethnography of Turkey 3 0 3 8
SOC 516 Social Movements 3 0 3 8
SOC 518 Urban Sociology 3 0 3 8
SOC 520 Political Frontiers and Frontier Regions 3 0 3 8
ANTH 519 Ethnography of the State 3 0 3 8
ANTH 522 Anthropology of Emotions 3 0 3 8

Course contents will be added soon…



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