THE 2015 SUMMER INSTITUTE IN ISTANBUL WILL BE HELD FROM JULY 5 to JULY 25, 2015.
The Institute’s schedule will run as follows: Breakfast 7:30 to 8:30am; session 8:45am to 12:30 (with breaks); lunch 12:30 to 1:30pm; site study 1:30 to 5:30pm (also attended by faculty). Sessions on Monday through Thursday will be dedicated to faculty-led lectures and discussions of the readings and sites. We will start each session with a discussion of the previous afternoon’s site visits. Each Friday’s session will be reserved for participants’ discussion of content and small group activity for the development of ways to incorporate Institute ideas into the classroom. There will be limited activity in the evenings and on weekends, notably basic Turkish language sessions, a trip to Bursa, a Bosphorus outing to the Black Sea, and trip to Troy and Gallipoli.
The tentative program plan is as follows:
Week 1. Classical and Byzantine Contexts
Sunday, July 5. Arrival. The Institute coordinator will meet participants at the airport and facilitate travel to their lodging. There will be a neighborhood orientation and opening dinner.
Monday, July 6. Byzantion to Constantinople. Lead Faculty: Herbst, Kaldellis, Van Dam. This session offers an overview of the Institute’s plan and objectives and then turns its focus to Constantine and the emergence of Constantinople. The historical context will be established by tracing the region’s geography, Greek origins, the rise of Roman power in the East, and the Christianization of empire and its impact on imperial ideology and society. The creation of “New Rome” in the East, on the strategic site of ancient Byzantion, demonstrated the shift of wealth and power to the largely Greek-speaking half of the empire. As the Roman Empire eroded in the West, “New Rome” thrived. While emperors in Constantinople and their subjects throughout the empire referred to themselves as “Romans,” modern scholarship has adopted the adjective “Byzantine” to distinguish this Christian and Eastern phase of the empire from its previous pagan and united phase. Text: R. Van Dam, Rome and Constantinople; Herrin, Byzantium, chapters 1-4. Reader: Life of Constantine by Eusebius, a contemporary of the emperor, who interpreted his reign in the perspective of triumphant Christianity. Sites: Each day’s sites augment the session’s themes: The hippodrome, which was a center of political and recreational activity, and the nearby palace remains; Mosaics Museum which recalls the splendor of the imperial palace; the Roman aqueduct built to bring water to the growing city; and the massive walls which protected the city for more than one millennium.
Tuesday, July 7. Legacy of Justinian. Lead Faculty: Kaldellis, Van Dam. This session focuses on the age of Justinian which witnessed the re-assertion of Roman power in the West, an influential codification of Roman law, and extensive building projects, including Hagia Sophia, the largest church in the medieval world. Justinian’s reign will also be assessed in light of subsequent events which saw the dramatic reduction in the empire’s size, wealth, and power due to the arrival of Slavs, Bulgars, and later, Arabs. The Christian world was shrinking and the Mediterranean, which the Romans referred to as “Our Sea,” had become a frontier zone. Text: Herrin, Byzantium, chapters 5-8 which addresses the age of Justinian and its aftermath. Reader: Prokopios, a contemporary of Justinian, who provided differing interpretations of the reign in his three important works. Sites: Monuments of Justinian: Hagia Sophia; Sergius and Bacchus Church (Küçük Ayasofya Camii); and the impressive water storage center, the Basilica Cistern.
Wednesday, July 8. Discovering the Byzantine Empire (to ca. 1100). Lead Faculty: Kaldellis, Van Dam. This session examines Byzantine political power, cultural activity, and relations with its pagan, Christian, and Muslim neighbors during its tenth- to twelfth-century apogee, and through the pen of Michael Psellos, one of the empire’s greatest intellectuals. Neighboring rulers often sought Byzantine titles, brides, silks, and weapons, particularly “Greek Fire” (a kind of medieval napalm). During this period, Byzantine currency was the “dollar of the middle ages,” when gold coinage was not even produced in the West. Interest and tension went hand-in-hand, however, and political and cultural ties with the West grew increasingly strained just as Turkic ascendency in the Muslim World posed new challenges for the empire. Text: Herrin, Byzantium, chs. 11, 13-17, and 19-21. Reader: Excerpts from Michael Psellos, Chronographia. Sites: Theotokos Pammakaristos and Chora Churches (Fethiye Camii and Kariye Müzesi, respectively), though of vastly smaller scale than Hagia Sophia, these lesser visited sites contain spectacular examples of Byzantine art and vividly demonstrate the empire’s cultural dynamism down to its very end.
Thursday, July 9. Constantinople, Christianity, & World History. Lead Faculty: Herbst, Kaldellis, Van Dam. This session focuses on Constantinople as a Christian center and explores how a city unmentioned in Christian scriptures became the premier city in the medieval Christian world. The basic theological tenets of Christianity were articulated by Ecumenical Councils summoned by emperors and held, not in Rome or the West, but in or near Constantinople. The city’s faith was expressed monumentally. It teemed with monasteries and churches which were fortified by icons, holy men and women, and relics, all of which the capital imported from its empire. The city exported missionaries, such as the famed “Apostles to the Slavs” Cyril and Methodius, who converted Slavic peoples to Orthodox Christianity and helped develop the Cyrillic script used today for the Russian, Serbian, and Bulgarian languages. This session will also compare the city with two other newly formed or remade imperial centers: Baghdad of the Abbasid Caliphate and T’ang China’s Chang’an. Each city felt the influence of distinct pre-existing classical traditions: Rome, Sassanid Persia, and the Han dynasty. Text: Herrin, Byzantium, chs. 9-10, 12. Reader: Life of Daniel the Stylite and Life of Mary the Younger, hagiographical texts which highlight relevant issues of religion, culture, and gender; Russian Primary Chronicle, on the conversion of the Rus to Orthodox Christianity. Sites: The Ecumenical Patriarchate, residence of the current bishop in the line that begins in the fourth century; St. Mary of the Mongols, the city’s only church dating from the Byzantine period that is still used as a church today; and St. Stephen Bulgarian Church, dating from the late Ottoman period but useful for discussion of Byzantine missionary activity.
Friday, July 10. Project Development Day. The director will facilitate the organization of theme-based groups through which teachers will develop classroom strategies and lesson plans. At the end of the day, each group will report on their work and the director will document the accomplishments on the Institute website. Site: We will visit the Archaeological Museum which reflects the region’s historical roots and connections across time, from ancient Anatolia and Near East, to Greece and Rome, through the Byzantine and Ottoman periods.
Saturday, July 11. Departure from Kabataş for a tour of the Bosphorus and a visit to Anadolu Kavağı near the Black Sea, then to the European Fortress (Rumeli Hisarı) built by Sultan Mehmed II to prepare for his conquest of Constantinople. Sunday, July 12. Excursion to the Anatolian city of Bursa, the first Ottoman Capital.
Week 2. Mediterranean and Ottoman Context
Mon., July 13. Constantinople and the Mediterranean (to 1453). Lead faculty: Stantchev, Kaldellis. This session focuses on Constantinople as a hub for medieval commerce. Western merchants, particularly Italians, sought opportunities in Constantinople. Western Crusaders, following the same routes as merchants, regularly passed through the city. The confluence of western economic revival and military ventures abroad proved disastrous for the city. The situation was particularly volatile after the bishops of Constantinople and Rome excommunicated one another, creating what we recognize today as the separate Orthodox and Catholic Churches. These tensions culminated in the Fourth Crusade which led to the sack of Constantinople in 1204 and imposed Latin political and religious rule. This experience created lasting animosity between Orthodox and Catholic Christians, splitting Christianity into two theologically-distinct and often hostile halves, which, nonetheless, agreed on the cultural and economic importance of Constantinople. Text: Herrin, Byzantium, chs. 23-28. Reader: Perspectives by Benjamin of Tudela, a twelfth-century Jewish traveler; Villehardouin, a Crusader; and Byzantine views by Anna Komnene, daughter of Emperor Alexios I Komnenos whose fascinating biography she wrote in the twelfth century, and Niketas Choniates, who witnessed the Crusader assault in 1204. Sites: We will visit Galata, an Italian city in the late Byzantine period, its iconic Genoese tower, and Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church.
Tuesday, July 14. The Making of Ottoman Constantinople (to ca. 1500). Lead Faculty: Stantchev, Zarinebaf. This session introduces the Turks in world history, from their Central Asian origins to the rise of the Ottomans, and focuses on the pivotal reign of Sultan Mehmed II who conquered Constantinople in 1453 and made it the new Ottoman capital. It explores Mehmed’s urban re-development and his political and economic policies, showing how an Ottoman city, with its palaces, mosques, commercial complexes, and baths, emerged from a Byzantine one. Text: Goffman, The Ottoman Empire and Early Modern Europe, chs. 1-2 and 5-6; Findley, The Turks in World History, chs. 1-2. Reader: Ç. Kafesçioğlu, Constantinopolis/ Istanbul, about architectural developments, and the biography of Mehmed II by Kritovoulos, an eye-witness to the reign. Sites: Sultan Mehmed’s palace (Topkapı), his mosque and tomb (Fatih Camii), and commercial center (Grand Bazaar).
Wednesday, July 15. Discovering the Ottoman Empire (ca. 1500 – ca. 1700). Lead Faculty: Zarinebaf, Kayalı. This session discusses classical Ottoman society, culture, and institutions which provided the basis for Ottoman power. It traces inter-regional ties (both cooperative and hostile) during a period of political strength and economic vitality when European neighbors were drawn to Istanbul for, among other things, access to the products of Asia. The Ottomans were “middle men” in world trade with Constantinople at its center. This stimulated some Western monarchies to search for an alternative route to better compete with the Ottomans or with states trading with them. Columbus’ westward voyage, for example, attempted to bypass the Ottomans, but ultimately connected the Americas to the existing network of Afro-Eurasian trade. Ottoman society and economy responded to these developments, including the surge of American silver into Western Europe, and Ottoman culture integrated American products like tobacco. The Ottomans also played a vital role in the spread of a new commodity and social space: coffee and the coffeehouse. Text: Goffman, The Ottoman Empire and Early Modern Europe, chs. 3-4 and 7-8; Quataert, Ottoman Empire, 1700-1922, ch. 1-2. Reader: Excerpts from G. Neçipoğlu, The Age of Sinan: Architectural Culture in the Ottoman Empire, L. Pierce, The Imperial Harem: Women and Sovereignty in the Ottoman Empire, and The Turkish Letters by de Busbecq, a Western observer during the reign of Süleyman. Sites: Monuments of Sinan, the most acclaimed Ottoman architect: Süleymaniye, the city’s largest mosque complex, and smaller Rüstem Paşa Mosque; Eminönü port district with its post-Sinan ‘New’ Mosque built by patronage of imperial women, and Egyptian (“Spice”) Market which funded it.
Thursday, July 16. Constantinople, Islam, and World History. Lead Faculty: Kayalı, Zarinebaf. This session focuses on religion and society in the Ottoman Empire. By the sixteenth-century, sultans became protectors of the Muslim holy places (Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalem) and heirs to the Caliphate. As Constantinople had earlier become a sacred center for Christians, under the Ottomans it became one for Muslims who had “discovered” a link between the city and the Prophet Muhammad through one of his companions, mirroring the experience of Byzantines who had earlier “discovered” a parallel religious connection to Jesus through the Apostle Andrew. Like their predecessors, sultans imported relics to further enhance the city’s prestige as a Muslim center. The city become home to diverse Sufi orders (including the Mevlevi or “Whirling Dervishes”), Muslim jurists and scholars, and to the Şeyhülislam who preached in Hagia Sophia and oversaw the empire’s religious infrastructure. Thus, a city which had little Muslim presence before 1453 became the region’s premier center of Muslim leadership and education. How did this impact the non-Muslim populations? Remarkably, Constantinople became even more diverse. The Ottomans tolerated Orthodox Christians as well as Christians of theologies deemed heretical by their Byzantine predecessors. In continuity with the city’s imperial past, sultans continued to appoint Orthodox Christian patriarchs, but in contrast, they also appointed patriarchs for Armenian Christians whose theology and liturgy differed. Both patriarchates still exist in Istanbul today. The Ottomans also welcomed Jews at a time when they were being persecuted in the West, and created the position of Chief Rabbi to oversee the Jewish community. Sultans ruled through religious diversity (referred to as the “millet system”) and Constantinople became a city of mosques, synagogues, and churches. This session will set the Ottoman experience in a cultural and comparative framework that will include the Mamluk Sultanate in Egypt (which the Ottomans absorbed), Mughal South Asia, and Persia. Text: Findley, The Turks in World History, ch. 3. Reader: Excerpts from L. Pierce, The Imperial Harem: Women and Sovereignty in the Ottoman Empire; Evliya Çelebi, Book of Travels, a seventeenth-century Ottoman traveler; M. Baer, “Messiah King or Rebel? Jewish and Ottoman Reactions to Sabbatai Sevi’s Arrival in Istanbul.” Sites: Mosque & tomb of a companion of the prophet Muhammad at Eyüp, the Virgin of Blachernae’s ancient sacred spring, and Ahrida Synagogue where the messianic Jewish leader Sabbatai Sevi preached.
Friday, July 17. Project Development Day. Same as July 10. Sites: We will visit the iconic seventeenth-century “Blue” Mosque (Sultanahmet Camii), the last imperial mosque of grand scale. Located directly across from Hagia Sophia, the relationship between the two buildings and their importance in the city’s history will be discussed; we will also visit the Armenian Patriarchate whose current bishop is heir to the position created by Sultan Mehmed II.
Saturday, July 18. Depart from Istanbul for a tour of Troy which highlights the long-standing importance of the region for political, cultural, and commercial interaction. We will cross the strait to visit Gallipoli, a near sacred memorial to one of the most famous battles in World War I. Gallipoli reflects the strategic importance of the region and (as we will see in week 3) was pivotal to the emergence of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish Republic. Sunday, July 19. Optional: A Mevlevi (“Whirling Dervishes”) ceremony in an historic tekke (Sufi center) in Istanbul’s Galata neighborhood.
Week 3. Modern Context
Monday, July 20. Ottoman Experience with Modernity (1700-1914). Lead Faculty: Kayalı, Zarinebaf. This session explores the attempted restructuring of classical Ottoman institutions in response to internal and external challenges, including those from the West, and the impact on Ottoman society. Western influence is readily apparent in architectural developments such as Dolmabahçe Palace for which sultans abandoned their traditional urban home in preference for this more “modern” one. In this period, the empire faced stronger competitors eager to assert control over its territory or to block others from doing so. Military weakness and the devolution of power, combined with emerging nationalism in the multi-ethnic and multi-religious setting, began to unravel the empire. The empire adopted various strategies to preserve order, including Ottomanism, which proposed inter-faith equality under Ottoman law, and, in contrast, Islamism, which promoted Islam as a source of unity, though increasing interfaith tensions. Both failed. The Ottoman experience of modernity and Western cultural and political pressure will be compared with contemporary experiences in China and Japan. Text: D. Quataert, Ottoman Empire, 1700-1922, chs. 3-6. Reader: Excerpts from Zarinebaf, Crime and Punishment, Part 3; Z. Çelik, The Remaking of Istanbul; and reforming decrees of Sultan Abdülmecit I. Sites: Selimiye Barracks, site of Ottoman military reforms and the base for Florence Nightingale’s work during the Crimean War (and home to a museum on the period), in Kadiköy whose waterfront is marked by its Western-styled Haydarpaşa train station built in 1908.
Tuesday, July 21. Nationalism, Revolution, Republic. Lead Faculty: Kayalı, Gür (Guest Lecturer). This session focuses on the emergence of the Turkish Republic. Where Ottomanism and Islamism failed, nationalism triumphed. In the aftermath of the Ottoman defeat in World War I and the allied occupation of Istanbul, a new nation was born. Turkey’s leader, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (“Father of the Turks”), spurned Istanbul and selected Ankara in central Anatolia for the new capital. After sixteen centuries as an imperial capital, Istanbul entered a period of re-adjustment which was masterfully depicted in Orhan Pamuk’s Istanbul. Memories of a City. The shift from empire to nation had major consequences for the region’s religious and ethnic diversity, including population movements of horrific nature. This session will explore the use of art and architecture as instruments of nationalist ideals. Texts: Quataert, Ottoman Empire, 1700-1922, chs. 7-10; Findley, The Turks in World History, ch. 4. Reader: Excerpts from O. Pamuk, Istanbul and Bozdoğan, Modernism and Nation-Building. Sites: Dolmabahçe Palace which reflects issues from the previous day as well as from the life of Mustafa Kemal who died and is commemorated here, then Yıldız Park and Ortaköy.
Wed., July 22. Istanbul, Turkey, and World History. Lead Faculty: Kayali, Karaömerlioğlu. This session addresses Mustafa Kemal’s nation building and modernizing project in comparative perspective. Turkey’s post-Atatürk period will be set in the context of world connections and conflicts, including World War II, the Cold War, and emerging tensions in the Middle East. Thus, Turkey’s entry into NATO and the Baghdad Pact will be examined together with the transition to multi-party politics and the relative liberalization of the economy in the fifties. Consistent with global trends, the sixties and seventies witnessed the rise of popular social movements and the expansion of civil society but also the growing tutelary role of the army which inhibited democratic development, even as it ushered the country into the global economy. Text: Findley, The Turks in World History, ch. 5. Kinzer, Crescent & Star, chapters 1-5. Reader: Excerpts from Orhan Pamuk, Istanbul. Sites: The Independence monument and Atatürk Cultural Center in Taksim, the heart of modern Istanbul; Istiklal Caddesi (“Independence Ave.”), a lively area of consulates, churches, museums, and shops; Military Museum, a shrine to nationalism, which links nomadic empires of Central Asia, Ottoman might, and modern Turkey.
Thursday, July 23. Turkey Today. Lead Faculty: Karaömerlioğlu, Herbst. This session explores social and political issues of contemporary Turkey. This includes external relations with the U.S. and Europe, and with the Middle East, including relations with Israel, Syria, and Iran. Domestic issues will also be discussed, including political dissent, freedom of the press, and human rights. Finally, the director will provide a program conclusion. Text: Kinzer, Crescent & Star, chapters 6-10. Sites: Contrasting perspectives in the Pera Museum with its early modern paintings of Istanbul and cultural exhibits, and Istanbul Modern’s modern art collection; the public art in Taksim metro station and its invocation of the Ottoman past; and the extravagant Cevahir Mall, one of the largest shopping centers in all of Europe.
Friday, July 24. Project Development Day. Same as July 10. No Site Visits. Closing group dinner. Saturday, July 25. Departure by bus to the airport.