First day of class

Posted on January 3rd, 2012 by

Operation Istanbul: Day 1

10:30-12:30 in Old Main 205

Today marked the beginning of our adventure to Istanbul, Turkey and we started by learning more about Turkey’s somewhat tumultuous political history.  Considering some people’s knowledge of Turkey going into this class consisted entirely of information contained in the song “Istanbul (Not Constantinople)”, an overview of Turkey’s political past was probably a good call.

After making sure everybody understood the expectations of the course and the details of international travel, our fearless leader Dr. Asli Ilgit initiated a class discussion regarding the readings assigned for the day.  What resulted was a fervent discussion of the various factors which shape Turkish culture and political identity.  The class was in top form.  Intelligence was displayed, brilliant points relayed, and any previous cultural ignorance filleted.  In particular we discussed how Turkey’s complicated cultural and political identity formed after the Turkish War of Independence, which occurred from 1914-1923.  One of the major points of our discussion concerned the reforms put in place by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who was a major leader in the War of Independence and later took over as the first President of Turkey.  We learned about the four major changes Ataturk instituted which has shaped modern Turkey: the legal system was Europeanized, the purity of the Turkish language was preserved, the state was secularized, and people were encouraged to follow European fashion trends.  Other than the changes which occurred after the revolutionary war, we also discussed how Turkey’s secular democratic framework was shaped by World War I, which led in part to the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, and the rise of modern day Turkey.

All in all it was a great first day of class.  Everybody seemed very engaged and excited about the prospect of spending a few weeks learning about this fascinating country not only by reading about it, but also by gaining  first-hand experience.  A week from now we will be immersed in all of the sights, smells, and sounds that Istanbul has to offer and I for one, can’t wait.



  1. Amanda McCourt says:

    Especially the smells. Chris Cannady has a very sensitive olfactory system. Like a blood hound dawg.

  2. Christopher Cannady says:

    Interesting read, Christopher.

    I also find it interesting cause we share the exactly same name!

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