Turkish Studies at Stanford

Posted on September 1st, 2013 by Med Studies Staff in Stanford Turkish Studies Initiative

“Turkey has been a crossroads for empires through the ages.  As a university with global ambitions, it is Stanford’s responsibility  to ensure Turkish Studies becomes an integral part of our curriculum.”   Richard Saller, the Vernon R. and Lysbeth Warren Anderson Dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences

Stanford students strive to acquire a thorough understanding of our evolving global community so they can respond effectively to future challenges. Given its rich history, rapidly growing economy, and emerging role in multiple regions, Turkey presents a crucial case to better understand our increasingly interconnected world. As the next generation of policy leaders and scholars, our students are dedicated to understanding the languages and cultures of this vibrant region, and passionate about working on solutions to regional and global issues that affect Turkey.

Our Turkish Studies Initiative seeks to address this need by supporting research and teaching about contemporary Turkey and the Ottoman Empire. Unlike established efforts at peer institutions, our approach to Turkish Studies extends beyond Islam, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean, and encompasses a cross-regional, comparative, and multi-disciplinary exploration of Turkey’s history, political economy, and culture. The undergraduate and graduate courses offered by our affiliated faculty members clearly illustrate the wide array of theoretical orientations and methodologies. Some of these courses take Stanford students to the actual sites in Turkey, such as Çatalhöyük, İstanbul, or İzmir. Others offer cutting-edge training in a small classroom setting enriched by thorough discussion. The list of 2012-13 courses is available here. We would also like to invite you to browse the courses offered in previous academic years by changing the dates listed above the search box.


We also organize lecture series, academic conferences, film screenings, and outreach events about contemporary Turkey and the Ottoman Empire. Our activities bring scholars together with entrepreneurs and policy-makers to critically engage with pressing political and economic issues facing Turkey. In 2007, we hosted Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk. Over seventeen hundred people attended his lecture on Turkish literature. In 2010, we organized a two-day Conference on Islam and Secularism in Contemporary Turkey. Some of the presentations have come out as book chapters or journal articles. In 2011, we sponsored a Turkish Film Poster Art Exhibit, which was first showcased at Stanford and later traveled to the Washington, D.C.. Please explore our upcoming and past events by clicking on the Events tab on this website. Unless otherwise noted, all of our events are free and open to the public.


Building a premier program in Turkish Studies that combines student interest with faculty expertise is a priority for Stanford University.  Our outstanding faculty members are the essential foundation for producing critical knowledge and advancing cross-cultural understanding that will inform future generations of leaders. In their pursuit of becoming global citizens, our students acquire and contribute to the collective body of contemporary thought about Turkey and the region.

To further enhance Turkish Studies at Stanford, we also need your support. Please consider joining us at our upcoming events and also reviewing the current giving opportunities. For questions, please contact the Mediterranean Studies Forum’s Associate Director Dr. Burçak Keskin-Kozat at medstudies@stanford.edu or (650) 736-8169


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