School of Athen by Raphael

Turkey 2010: Course Outline

Liberal Studies Abroad

LBST 290/390; LBST 291/391; LBST 292/392

The Turkey Credit Program will provide an exciting and stimulating interdisciplinary examination of one of the most fascinating geographical and cultural areas in history. Asia Minor (modern Anatolia, Turkey), at the crossroads of East and West, has seen a number of major cultural and religious upheavals: first by the Hittite emperors; then by the elites of Hellenic cities; next by their Hellenized descendants in the Roman age; then by Christian emperors and bishops in the Byzantine age; and, finally, by Turkish rulers and Muslim mystics. The wealth of history and culture in this area is unparalleled for students interested in the classical, Hellenistic, Byzantine and early Christian periods, and Islam.

Rather than being based in one place, as in the Italy Program, we will travel by bus from place to place every 3 to 4 days, going south along the Aegean coast, east along the Mediterranean coast, and up into Cappadocia. Among the sites visited will be Ephesus , one of the best-preserved ancient cities in the world, Bodrum (ancient Halicarnassus ), Dalyan (ancient Kaunos with its rock-cut cliff tombs), Kas, Antalya , and valleys and towns in the magical moonscape of Cappadocia , where our base will be Goreme. Our trip concludes with three nights in Istanbul, where participants can visit sites such as the Sultanahmet Mosque, Hagia Sophia, the famous, and enormous, Grand Bazaar covered market and the Byzantine Basilica Cistern.

Preparatory Sessions, Sunday March 21 and Sunday April 11 – Nanaimo Campus, Building 355 – Room 211

Sunday March 21:  11:00 am – 4:00 pm: Administrative matters, Introduction to Turkish Culture I, Research Topics assigned, Lecture, Introductory exercises.

Sunday April 11:  11:00 am – 4:00 pm: Research Summary due (these pages will be copied and incorporated in the class course materials), Administrative/legal Matters (Manager of International Education), Introduction to Turkish Culture II, Lecture, Seminar.


The professor assigned to the course is Lisa MacLean, who has taught Liberal Studies at VIU since 1994.  In the Spring of 2009 she spent four and a half months in Turkey as an artist-in-residence, working on, among others, a multimedia project entitled "Ruinations."

Division of Courses


LBST 290/390

LBST 291/391

LBST 292/392


History and Religion

Art and Architecture

Literature and Philosophy

Study Materials  

Qu’ran selections

Architecture in Asia Minor

Pre-Socratic Philosophy: Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes, Heraclitus, Pythagoras 


Early Christianity

Selections from the Ancient Theatre Archive and Introduction to Ancient Stagecraft

Euripides, Medea


Selections from Writings of and about St. Paul in Asia Minor: "Acts of Paul and Thecla"and “First Epistle to the Corinthians”

Byzantium : Art and Culture

Sufism: An Introduction and The Poetry of Rumi and Yunus Emre

Selections from Spiro Kostof: Caves of God

Herodotus: Selections from the Histories 

Islamic Art

Islamic Women Poets

Constantine's City

Ustun Reinart :
Porcelain Moon and Pomegranates

Ustun Reinart :
Porcelain Moon and Pomegranates

Ustun Reinart : Porcelain Moon and Pomegranates



Art/Architecture Project:
Re-Imagining the Ruin

Creative Writing

Essay 1 and Outline

Essay 2 and Outline

Essay  3 and Outline


 Research Assignment




LBST 290/390

LBST 291/391

LBST 292/392

Reading Schedule:

Due to the brisk pace of this program, you are strongly advised to do as much of the reading before leaving Canada as possible.


Ustun Bilgen-Reinert, Porcelain Moon and Pomegranates: A Woman’s Trek Through Turkey.

Üstün Bilgen-Reinart was born in Ankara , Turkey , came to Canada as a teenager, and returned to Turkey in 1995. As a television journalist at the CBC, she covered aboriginal and social issues. Her first book, Night Spirits, was published in 1997. Currently she teaches English at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara .

For millennia, the land now called Turkey has been at the crossroads of history. A bridge between Europe and Asia, between West and East, between Christianity and Islam, the peninsula also known as Anatolia, the place where the sun rises, is one of the oldest continually inhabited regions on the planet. In this unique blend of memoir and travel literature, Üstün Bilgen-Reinart explores the people, politics, and passions of her native country, whisking the reader on a journey through time, memory, and space (Amazon). Bilgen-Reinert’s book will provide a contemporary backdrop to some of the historical material we will encounter.

Readings Packages: General Background information

Early Christianity (LBST 290/390 Readings): This text will provide historical background on the early history and development of Christianity which will be useful for our explorations of Byzantine culture and St Paul: Selections from "Acts of Paul and Thecla" and First Letter to the Corinthians (Seminar on Paul May 3rd).

Islamic Art (LBST 291/391 Readings): This text will provide background material on the ideas animating Islamic art, information you will find useful when visiting mosques, hamams, and the like.

Selections from the Ancient Theatre Archive and Introduction to Ancient Stagecraft (LBST 291/391 Readings): Background material which will be useful for ancient site visits along the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts and Medea reading (May 15).

Constantine's City (LBST 290/390 Readings): Background information for our stay in Istanbul.

For Seminar:

For April 11: Qur’an Selections (LBST 290/390 Readings)

For May 3: Paul, Selections from "Acts of Paul and Thecla" and First Letter (Epistle) to the Corinthians (LBST 290/390 Readings)

For May 6: Pre-Socratic Philosophy (LBST 292/392 Readings)

For May 9: Herodotus, Selections from the Histories (LBST 290/390 Readings)

For May 15: Euripides, Medea (LBST 292/392 Readings)

For May 17: Sufism: An Introduction and The Poetry of Rumi and Yunus Emre (LBST 292/392 Readings)

For May 20: Byzantium: Art and Culture and Kostof, Caves of God (LBST 291/391 Readings)

For May 22: Islamic Women Poets (LBST 292/392 Readings)

Assignments and Evaluation

Details of assignment due dates and the procedures for submission are discussed in detail below. Read them carefully. After returning to Canada, you are encouraged to consult Lisa on the work you are doing on the assignments; her email address is

Upper-Level Students 

The requirements for upper-level students are more demanding than those for lower-level students. For the Essays, lower-level students must write 1000 words, upper-level students 1500. Upper-level students will be expected to display greater depth and quality in all components of evaluation.

Overview of Common Assignments 

The Research Assignment counts for 5% in each course, and is due on April 11/10; the Journal counts for 20% in each course, and is due on June 10/10. If your journal can be mailed, please make sure it is sent to arrive by then; if it is too bulky to mail, it must be hand-delivered to Lisa on Jun 10 between the hours of 1:00 and 3:30 pm, at which time she will arrange to be on campus to receive it (Building 355 Room 330). Participation counts for 25% in each course.

1) Research Assignment

During our first introductory session (March 21), you will be given a topic to research. The assignment is to produce an information sheet about the topic for your fellow students. Your information sheet should include the following:

  • A brief description: what or who it is?
  • A paragraph explaining its significance: why is it of interest to us?
  • Specific example(s): where will we see this site/person's work/reference to this subject in Turkey?
  • A list of references used - other than Wikipedia!

Your assignment is due no later than the next session on April 11 (no exceptions!). Please do not exceed two pages in length. You may submit the assignment in hard copy or by uploading it into Moodle in Microsoft Word Document, Rich Text or HTML format. Your topic information sheets will be copied and distributed to all the members of our group as part of the course materials. The Research Assignment is worth 5% of your grade in all three courses.

2) Journal

During our visit to Turkey, keep a daily journal recording your experiences relating to the trip and the study in which we are engaged. The focus of the journal should be primarily on the intellectual, cultural components of your experiences, not on the personally private or simply touristic aspects. You should avoid mere relation of the activities of the day, without any consideration of the broader cultural issues they raise. Articulate your thoughtful reactions, instead of merely gathering mementos. The instructor will not make comments in the journal itself, so that it may function as a permanent record of your visit and the feelings and ideas it evoked.

Your journal should include the following:

* A daily log including the date, where you went, who you were with and the weather;

* Seminar notes prepared in advance, including a question(s) you intend to ask (described below);

* Reflections on seminar discussions and issues arising from it;

* Notes and details from the program tours: observations and details about your cultural and educational experience.

You are welcome to include material of all sorts: free writing, literary and artistic criticism, poetry, drawing, painting, photographs, photo-collage, newspaper and magazine clippings, expository writing, pressed flowers, ticket stubs, postcards - really anything at all which expresses some aspect of your experience of the trip.  If you use material from sources like magazines, there is no need to attribute it to a source, but it should be used to express or introduce your thoughts and reactions, not just those of its author.

You might want to buy a nice book for use as a journal.  Remember that a journal is not an essay (even though it may contain essay-like portions if you wish), and so does not need to be approached in the way you would an essay.  Be creative and honest in expressing your feelings and thoughts: they do not have to be organized in any way in support of a point of view.

Seminar Notes : In preparation for each seminar record some notes in your journal on the text under discussion for that session. The main purpose of these seminar notes is to encourage students to engage in critical reflection on the text under discussion and to have at least one thoughtful contribution to offer to the seminar. These notes are not essays; they need not have a thesis statement, conventionally designed paragraphs, and so on. The note is meant to be an informal record of your encounter with the work. The best seminar notes focus on a single aspect of a work rather than making generalizations about its entirety. Choose a feature that engages or puzzles you, and explore its possibilities. The possibilities you come up may or may not bear up under scrutiny; again, the point is not to write a developed essay but essentially to brainstorm. The instructor will be looking for evidence of your engagement with the text, as well as attentive reading and thoughtful consideration of it. You may find, also, that your note can suggest an interesting topic for the rest of the class to explore in seminar discussion. In writing your seminar notes, avoid making a list of many points; stay firmly focused on one. Also, avoid a mere summary or description of the seminar text, and don’t make each note simply a personal response (e.g., an indication of whether you liked or didn’t like the work).  

The Journal is worth 20% of your grade in all three courses.

3) Participation

Participation in seminars and other activities counts for 25% of each of the courses you are taking.  In assigning marks, the professors will pay attention to the quantity and quality of your participation in seminar discussion, as well as your contributions to other classes and activities, and to the educational experience of the group as a whole.

The seminar session has a number of particular purposes. First, it is designed to create a situation where the participants share their views about something very specific, so that everyone's understanding of that focus is expanded, improved, and deepened. Second, a seminar seeks to promote the skills of conversation, a complex set of habits and attitudes which, in large part, determine our abilities to deal with others. And finally a seminar tries to foster an ongoing discussion which will continue outside the classroom (on the beach, over dinner, in the cafe).

Successful seminars, however, do not just happen. Because of the complex nature of social interactions, those participating have to work to create and sustain a conversational setting in which, individually and collectively, the aims of the seminar are realized as fully as possible. This demand requires from each of the participants a continuing commitment to making the enterprise work. For advice on how to participate in seminars, please consult the Moodle site Book on Seminar Participation.

Research Assignment: 5%; Journal: 20%; Participation: 25%

Overview of Course-Specific Assignments

LBST 290/390: Essay 1 and Outline: 30%  Map: 20%
LBST 291/391: Essay 2 and Outline: 30%   Art/Architecture Project: 20%
LBST 292/392: Essay 3 and Outline: 30%  Text/Collage Creative Writing: 20%

Essays are due by email or Moodle site upload on or before June 30/10. Projects are due on or before August 3/10 . If they can be mailed, please do so to: Lisa MacLean, Liberal Studies Department, VIU, 900 Fifth Street, Nanaimo, BC, V9R 5S5.

If your projects are too bulky to be mailed, they may be hand-delivered to Lisa between the hours of 1 and 3:30 pm Aug 3 only, at which time she will arrange to be on campus to receive them (Building 355. Room330). Please note that the assignment due dates fall within the summer vacation period for departmental personnel so if some other arrangement for receipt prior to Aug 3 needs to be made, you must contact Lisa by email in advance:

1) Essays and Essay Outlines

You must write one essay for each course. The essay questions are given below. For students in the second-year courses, each essay should be approximately 1000 words long; for those in the third-year courses each essay should be about 1500 words long (not including quotations). The essays are due by June 30/10, and each is worth 25% of your grade in the relevant course. 

While in Turkey (and by May 26/10) you must also prepare and submit tentative outlines of the essays you propose to write: each is worth 5% of your grade in the relevant course. The outline should explain which question you are answering, the proposed thesis of your paper and (briefly) your argument for it. (In writing the paper you may deviate from the outline if you change your mind about these elements.) There is no word-limit, but one page should suffice. Outlines may be submitted on paper, by email or through the Moodle site.

These essays should be examples of argumentative writing: that is, you must take a thesis, a point of view about the text or about an issue it raises, and defend that point of view with reasoned argument. This requires you to justify your interpretations and evaluations of the text or material which forms your topic, to argue against alternative interpretations and judgments where these are likely to arise, and to speak with your own voice, not that of other critics. 

They should not be primarily research essays, and definitely not mere summaries of the views of other critics. At the same time, it is legitimate to introduce the views of other writers if doing so would help illuminate your own point of view. When you do make such an appeal, you should always specify the source to which you are referring. Refer to the plagiarism policy below.

For a brief explanation of essay grading standards and policies on plagiarism, please consult the Moodle site Book on Evaluation Guidelines for Essays.

LBST 290/390 (History and Religion)

Choose one of the following topics: 

HR 1) "There are three things that last forever: faith, hope, and love; and the greatest of the three is love" (I Corinthians 13:13). Why?

HR 2) Herodotus has been called both “the Father of History” and “the Father of Lies”. Which characterisation, in your view, best describes him and why?

HR 3) Compare the characterisation of the Divine and/or the relationship of human and Divine in Paul’s 1 Corinthians with that in our Qur’an selections.

HR 4) Compare the Islamic Last Judgment, as found in our Qur'an selections, with the Christian, as found in Matthew and/or Book of Revelations. To what conclusion(s) does such a comparison lend itself?

HR 5) About Porcelain Moon and Pomegranates, a critic has said: “The tensions between early, matriarchal cultic practices and present-day fundamentalist ones are merely a single facet of the uneasy relationship between Turkey’s modern condition and its yawning past. Again and again Bilgen-Reinart juxtaposes traditional elements and their 21st century counterparts, with startling, often paradoxical effects.” Select one or two of these tensions or juxtapositions, and, with close attention to the text, analyse Reinert’s treatment of them.

LBST 291/3 91 (Art and Architecture)  

Choose one of the following topics: 

AA 1) By reference to buildings and art encountered during the course, compare the Greco-Roman (Hellenic, Hellenistic, Roman) and Byzantine periods in terms of how their art and/or architecture expresses the social, political or intellectual preoccupations of their time.

AA 2) Drawing upon a range of subjects (artistic and architectural), describe the major themes and techniques of creative expression in ONE of the following periods: a) Hellenic/Hellenistic (Ancient Greek), b) Roman, c) Byzantine or d) Islamic.

AA 3) Select two works of art, encountered during the program, between which you feel exist interesting and important differences. Explain in detail what those differences are and why they are significant. 

LBST 292/3 92 (Literature and Philosophy)  

Choose one of the following topics:  

LP 1) Different Milesian philosophers said that the primary stuff of nature was water, the boundless, or air. Pick one of these and defend it against the other two.

LP 2) Defend Pythagoras’s view that numbers underlie all reality.

LP 3) Why does Heraclitus say that we can’t step into the same river twice?

LP 4) A critic has said: “The patriarchal environment of medieval Ottoman-Turkish society ostracized and automatically controlled the voice of women in classical lyric poetry”. From your reading of the poetry, what did these women do in order to gain legitimacy as “poets in a man's club of literature, a literature which did not even allow its male practitioners to express their own personality or identity easily.”

LP 5) Analyse and evaluate the way Rumi and/or Yunus Emre characterise the Divine and the relationship between humanity and the Divine.

2) Map

Maps are an interpretive tool used to demonstrate the relationships between physical observations and conceptual ideas. They can be organizing principles for helping to find your way. They are visual tools to help you locate yourself (“You are here”) and to help you navigate your way to a specific goal. The Project is to create a map on the subject of your choice to portray visually your understanding of some topic or place (physical or spiritual) we will have studied, discussed or visited during the course, or your journey from one such place to another.

The subject of your map will dictate the appropriate size, scale, detail and materials to use creating it. Be creative. Use your imagination. Make it beautiful. Presentation matters.

Questions to ask of your map are: Is it useful? Does it work? Is it clear?

Include a 1-2 page write-up which identifies your subject, answers these questions and explains why it has been created in this particular way.

3) Re-Imagining the Ruin

On this trip we will visit the ruins of many ancient towns and cities. During these visits, document the sites using photographs, sketches and the like. Record, also, relevant details from the tour guide’s presentation. From your preliminary research, this Project asks you to create an original piece in some art-form, as follows:

1. Select the ruin site which you have found to be the most interesting, beautiful, striking, intriguing of those which you have encountered during the program.

2. Document the site. Your documentation will include the photographs and sketches you have made of it. In addition, in your documentation you must identify the site in detail and answer the following questions about it: Where is it? Why was it important, historically? How/why did it fall into ruin? Why have you chosen it? In addition to the answers to these questions, your write-up should include a page or two of relevant background information about the site: historical, archeological , sociological etc.

3. Recreate the site, or an important portion of it, as you imagine it to have been in its heyday (that is, when it was a living city and not a ruin). The piece may take any appropriate form: two-dimensional, three-dimensional or some combination thereof; photography, painting, sculpture, mixed media, collage; found objects or attachments. This project asks you to use your imagination and critical abilities in concert.

Do not be concerned if you feel that you lack artistic talent: first, you are probably wrong about this, and perhaps have all sorts of talents which you have not yet tapped; second, the range of media and techniques is very wide, so that you should be able to find some form of expression which you are able to manipulate freely; third, the focus is primarily on your imaginative engagement with the material remnants of another culture. However, attention will also be paid to the visual presentation of the piece.

4) Text/Collage Creative Writing

1. Select one or more of the works studied in 292/3 92 with which to engage.

2. From these works, choose particular passages (from one or more works) which you find curious, beautiful, strange, compelling, confusing etc.

3. Respond to these passages in your own words – “talk back” to the author(s). Engage in a dialogue with your chosen text(s).

4. Either: i) create a visual word-collage from this engagement or ii) present it in a form of “beautiful writing” (calligraphic or the like). Visual presentation matters.

5. Include a write-up that contains your actual written text and explains why you’ve chosen the particular piece(s) to which to respond. The finished project, then, will consist of written documentation and a visual component. Presentation matters.

Plagiarism: Plagiarism is a serious academic offence and, under Malaspina’s Student Conduct Policy, can result in severe disciplinary measures. Students found guilty of plagiarism may be assigned an “F” for the work involved or for the course. Plagiarism will be reported to the Dean and to the Registrar. Students committing a second offence will be reported to the Director of Student Services, who may recommend expulsion from the program or the University-College.

Plagiarism is the appropriation of the work of another person (including the words, the ideas, and the language of another person) and passing it off as if it is the product of your own efforts. To avoid a charge of plagiarism, ensure that you give proper references not only to passages of texts that you quote directly but also to ideas that you paraphrase, as well as to phrases coined by someone else but which you wish to use.

The work a student hands in for marking must be his or her own work. While students will be encouraged to work together, to review each other’s work, and to give each other assistance, the instructors expect that no student will directly copy another student’s work or borrow material f ro m secondary sources without acknowledgement (note that you must acknowledge sources, even if you translate the information into your own words). This point applies to all work. If you are at all unclear as to what constitutes plagiarism and other forms of serious academic misconduct, please consult VIU's Student Academic Code of Conduct.


All written work, with the exception of that contained in your journal and Essay Outline, should be typed or prepared on a word processor, double spaced on standard paper (8.5" x 11"), with the right justification removed if your printer does not provide proportional spacing. You should always retain a photocopy of any written assignment you hand in. This will insure against loss and enable you to ask for a mark review if this is necessary. The written work contained in your journal and Essay Outline should be neatly printed and legible.

Recap of assignment due dates:

Research topic: Sunday April 11 at our 2 nd Introductory Meeting

Journal: Jun 10 (if too bulky to mail, hand-delivered to me at VIU on Jun 10 between 1 and 3:30 pm only)

3 Essay Outlines: (by hand or email to me by or on May 26)

Essays: Jun 30 (by email to me or uploaded into Moodle only)

Projects: Aug 3 (if too bulky to mail, hand-delivered to me at VIU on Aug 3 between 1 and 3:30 pm only).

Note: The scheduled days/times for seminars/class activities, and times for tours, are tentative and may have to be modified as circumstances beyond our control may dictate.








2010 Draft Schedule
Subject to change







March 21
Nanaimo Session
Research Topic Assigned







April 11
Nanaimo Session
Research Topic Due






May 1 Arrive Izmir; transfer to Selcuk

2 Afternoon:

Tour of Sirince (Ottoman Greek) town


3 Morning:

Ephesus site tour

 Aft/Evening: Seminar on readings:

Paul, Acts of Paul and Thecla & 1st Epistle to the Corinthians

4 All Day:

Tour of three ancient cities: Priene, Miletos and Didyma

5 All Day:

Tour of Pamukkale and Hieropolis

6 Morning:

Travel by bus from Selcuk to Bodrum

Castle visit


7 Morning: Seminar on Readings: Pre-Socratic philosophy

Late morning:

Visit to Mausoleum of Halikarnassas in Bodrum

8 Morning:

Travel by bus from Bodrum to Dalyan

9 Morning:

Tour of Ancient City of Kaunos

Aft/evening: Seminar on Readings: Herodotus, Histories 


Free Day in Dalyan

Trip to Iztuzu beach


Free Day in Dalyan

12 All Day:

Travel by bus from Dalyan to Butterfly Valley

Visit to Kayakoy on the way

13All Day:

Travel by bus from Butterfly Valley to Kas

Visit to Xanthos and Saklikent on the way

15 All Day:

Tour to Patara ancient city and beach

16 Morning:

Dramatic reading in Kas theatre



Free Day in Kas

17 Morning:

Travel by bus from Kas to Cirali

Visit to Olympos ruin site, beach and Chimera on the way


Seminar on readings: Rumi & Yunis Emre

18 Morning:

Travel by bus from Cirali to Antalya

Visit to Phaselis ruin site, beach on the way


19 All day:

Travel by bus from Antalya to Goreme

Visit to Mevlana Museum, Konya on the way


20 Morning:

Tour of Goreme Open Air Museum


Seminar on Readings:

Byzantium: Art & Culture and Kostof, Caves of God


21 Morning:

Hiking in valleys around Goreme


Visit to Cemil

Aft/Eve: Seminar on Islamic Women Poets



Tours of Nevsehir, Avanos, and Uchisar



All Day:

Travel by bus from Goreme to Istanbul



Tours in Istanbul: Hagia Sophia, Sultanahmet Mosque, Basilica Cistern, Grand Bazaar


Free day in Istanbul

Essay outlines due



Program over:

Depart Istanbul




Reminder to Credit Students

While we naturally expect you all to have lots of fun in Turkey, we ask you to note that the standards of evaluation in these courses will be the same as for all Liberal Studies courses. You will be expected to keep up with the reading, participate fully in program activities and seminars, produce thoughtful papers and projects, and hand in your work on time. We recommend that you set aside a definite period of time each day for reading, writing in your journal, and making notes for the assignments you will complete on your return. 


If you encounter any problems whatsoever (academic, legal or personal) while in Turkey, please contact the faculty or administrative personnel:

Lisa MacLean: Turkish cell number +90 507 223 5364; email:

Sonja Grau, Kaunos Tours: +90 533 617 5180 (cell)

Kaunos Tours Office: +90 252 284 2816

Email: (email address being used on the main computer in the Kaunos office and during the summer period checked daily)

VIU Emergency Contacts : Audrey Hansen (Field Schools Co-ordinator) or Graham Pike (Dean, International Education): (250) 740-6315. VIU also has a 24hr answering service for calls made outside the working day: (250) 740-6600. For all emergency calls, provide a way by which you can be contacted in return. To call Canada from a landline in Turkey, dial 001 before the area code.

Canada Emergency Line (Ottawa): (613) 996-8885 (call collect).


Canadian Embassy in Ankara, Turkey:

Cinnah Caddesi no: 58
06690, Cankaya
Ankara, Turkey

Tel.: +90 (312) 409 27 00
Fax: +90 (312) 409 28 11

Consulate of Canada in Istanbul

Istiklal Caddesi, 189/5
Beyoglu, 34433 Istanbul – Turkey

Tel.: + 90 (212) 251-9838
Fax: + 90 (212) 251-9888