In its first trial run in Summer 2017, the program was only three weeks long. And it was situated not at Süleymaniye but in its temporary quarters in Fatih. Still, this is what some participants said:
Dr. Darya Zhigulskaya (Moscow State University, Institute for Asian and African Studies). İbn Haldun Üniversitesi Tarih Bölümü tarafından düzenlenen Osmanlıca Seminerleri Programı benim için gerçek bir keşifti. Üç hafta boyunca süren bu ders programı bana hem Osmanlıca ve Osmanlı tarihi üzerindeki bilgilerimi derinleştirme imkânı temin etti, hem de dünyanın dört bir tarafından gelen araştırmacı arkadaşlarla tanışıp, tecrübelerinden yeni şeyler öğrenmek ve onlarla elverişli bir bilimsel görüş alışverişinde bulunmak için mükemmel bir ortam sağladı. Derslerin yanı sıra, Süleymaniye Kütüphanesi’ne ve Başbakanlık Arşivi’ne ziyaretler ve Osmanlı araştırmaları alanında dünyaca ünlu olan akademisyenler Prof. Halil Berktay, Prof. Feridun Emecen ve Prof. Mehmet İpşirli’nin programımıza katılıp ders vermeleri gibi ilave etkinlikler seminere ayrı bir anlam kattı. Seminer süresince bizimle birlikte olan tüm öğretim görevlilerine en içten teşekkürlerimi ifade eder; hem akademik araştırmaları, hem de pedagojik faaliyetlerinde başarılar dilerim.
Andrew Hammond (Doctoral Candidate, Oxford University, Faculty of Oriental Studies). The program is excellent for those who already know some or a fair amount of Ottoman but need revision to bring them up to speed before a period of research involving Ottoman materials. It works well in that regard since the school is in Istanbul and runs for less than a month, so it is easy to pursue research while doing the course. The course included trips to archives, excellent lectures from major scholars in Turkey, and, in the advanced group, classes conducted largely in Turkish. In our class we engaged deep reading of different forms of official correspondence from the Late Ottoman period, looking closely at grammar and intent behind documents. Lunch was provided on-site in a canteen, which was also really conducive to focusing on the work at hand and engendering a community spirit.
Benan Grams (Ph.D. Student, Georgetown University, Department of History). At Ibn Haldun University’s Ottoman Language Summer School (2017) I had a holistic experience that went beyond educational benefits. In the classroom, I was challenged but not overwhelmed. Instructors accommodated students’ different language backgrounds and skills in both Ottoman and Modern Turkish. They gradually guided us through everything from matbu (printed) scripts to riqa (handwritten) documents. Together we covered a wide variety of Ottoman documents ranging from literary and legal texts to fermans, berats and petitions.
I particularly benefitted from the one-hour group-work session that we were required to do daily after lunch. In these sessions, we were left alone to collaborate to decipher the documents. After this, together with our instructors we checked and corrected our work. This system allowed me to process the information I learned during the lesson and to learn from the skills of my peers. The fact that the language of instruction was mainly Turkish greatly contributed to the improvement of my skills in Modern Turkish. The program complemented our language training with lectures by leading Turkish Ottoman historians. These lectures opened my eyes to new interpretations, potential sources and questions that are relevant to my research. Additionally, the trips that the university organized to the different archives in Istanbul were a great opportunity to know where to start researching, what documents are available, and how to navigate the research work in Istanbul.
In addition to all of this, the warm, friendly, generous and hospitable environment of the staff and instructors made going to school every day a joyful and fun experience. I genuinely enjoyed every single day of my course and had a great cultural experience. I felt that I gained new friends and a home institution in Turkey. Next year, I am coming back for Ibn Haldun Summer School Ottoman Turkish Advanced Level course and I look forward to future work opportunities with Ibn Haldun University.
Maariyah Lateef (Ph.D. Student, Brown University, Department of History). The Ibn Haldun Ottoman Turkish summer program proved to be a great asset for me as a student of history. Not only did the wonderful teachers make sure we were exposed to various kinds of texts, but they also shared with us the historical contexts of each text. By making us deeply understand what we were reading, the teachers helped us realize which kinds of texts and scripts we would need to focus on for our own research. In addition to practicing a variety of skills in class, we were able to benefit from leading guest lecturers and beneficial trips to premier research locations in Istanbul. Researchers in the field will not go wrong by choosing this truly well-rounded Ottoman summer program.
Daria Kovaleva (Ph.D. Student, Harvard University, Department of History). In July 2017, I had a unique opportunity to participate in the first Ottoman Turkish Summer School organized by Ibn Haldun University. Combining intensive and focused many-hour in-class work with the relatively short overall length of the school, the advanced level course contributed enormously to my reading ability of unfamiliar Ottoman Turkish texts: it helped me to develop reading speed, to build vocabulary, and trained me to parse the text of the documents in such a way as to speed up and facilitate understanding of the content and translation. One of the strongest aspects of this school as far as education is concerned was that each level had two instructors assigned to teach it, exposing students to a greater variety of methods and techniques. While not offering accommodation, the program, in turn, did an excellent job of cultivating community and providing its participants with multiple opportunities to enjoy the company and benefit from the expertise of one another, all the four instructors involved, as well as to develop ties with guest lecturers from among the top scholars of Turkish academia and students of other summer programs in the EDEP. Having the classes in the heart of Fatih in Istanbul and the particularly welcoming atmosphere of the EDEP made my study experience truly special.
Mariusz Kaczka (Ph.D. Researcher, European University Institute, Department of History and Civilization). This program provided me with an excellent opportunity to improve my knowledge of Ottoman Turkish and Ottoman written culture. Thanks to the wide range of teachers’ expertise, I gained the experience of reading a variety of Ottoman sources, reaching from chronicles, through petitions to the sultan to late Ottoman narrative sources. Keynote lectures delivered by Halil Berktay or Mehmed İpşirli improved my knowledge of Ottoman periodizations or Ottoman traditions of history writing. This school inspired me to think out of the box and to search for new ways of combining Ottoman and European diplomatic sources in historical writing. I strongly recommend this summer school to all researchers interested in Ottoman language, culture, and civilization.
A memento from Summer 2017, with IHU President Prof. Recep Şentürk in the middle. Standing to his right: Dr Faruk Yaslıçimen and Dr Fatih Çalışır, Summer School instructors and members of the History Department at IHU.
Summer 2018 – Now at Süleymaniye, Prof. Halil Berktay giving an inaugural lecture on the comparative iconography of the Greek and Turkish revolutions.
Summer 2018 – Halil Berktay’s audience.