T4472 – Islam in Turkey

Cappadocia, Konya, Izmir, Bursa, Istanbul, Edirne, Sivas
Faculty: Adil Ozdemir, Ph.D and Halise Ozdemir, M.A.
01/02/2015 – 01/27/2015

4472Academic Overview

It is no mere coincidence that President Obama chose Turkey as the first Muslim country to visit and as a site for an important address to what gets referred to as the Islamic world. As it seeks its soul, its identity, between the European Union and the Islamic world, Turkey is both a battleground and a learning ground. New York Times reporter Stephen Kinzer declares that it is poised to be “the most audaciously successful nation of the twenty-first century.” Turkey stands in a pivotal position, with the Bosphorus Bridge its great symbol of the geographical, political, and social spanning of both Europe and Asia. Islam is central to both the political significance and the mystery of Turkey. For centuries visitors have been struck with wonder at its remarkable tauheed, or unity, tolerance and hospitality. This course familiarizes students with the basic beliefs and practices of Islam in Turkey, including worship, family life and intellectual and artistic traditions. We will perceive Islam from both “insiders’ perspectives” (reading the Quran and works on the Prophet Muhammad and challenges facing Muslims in contemporary Turkey), and from “outsiders’ perspectives” (reading British, American, and secular Turkish writers who are imagining or describing Turkey and Muslims). Site visits include Mosques, churches, madrasas, palaces, museums, ancient towns including the underground city of Kaymakli, volcanic formations, deep valleys and rock dwellings in Cappadocia, Sultanhan Caravanserai, Mevlana Museum, Selimiye Mosque, Aladdin Mosque, Konya Karatay Ince Minare, Karatay Madrasa in Konya. Ephesus in Selcuk. Muradiye, Burda Koza Han, Grand and Green Mosques in Bursa, Bursa center. Edirne Selimiye Mosque, Eski Camii, Beyazit Medrese. The stunning Blue Mosque and historical Eyup Sultan Mosque, the world-famous Byzantine Hagia Sophia, lavish Ottoman Topkapi Palace, and the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul. To experience Turkish friendship we also engage in interfaith and intercultural dialogue over dinners in the homes of local families.

Comprehensive Fee
Costs: $5750-6050*
*Each home institution may have supplementary fees in addition to the price listed.
Comprehensive Fee Includes: Transportation and course arrangements as indicated, hotel accommodations in twin and triple rooms, six lunches and
nineteen dinners. (subject to change)


At St. Thomas, THEO 101 and a 200-level Theology course or its equivalent on other campuses.

Required Readings
Khaled Abou El Fadl, The Place of Tolerance in Islam (selected chapters)
Karen Armstrong, Muhammad, A Prophet for Our Time
Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Islam: Religion, History, and Civilization
Marmaduke Pickthall, The Meaning of the Glorious Qur’an (selected readings)
Stephen Kinzer, Crescent and Star: Turkey Between Two Worlds (selected chapters)
Reading packet

20% Attendance at and Active Contribution to ALL Course Sessions
40% Academic Journal
40% Final Essay

Program Directors
Adil Ozdemir, Ph.D., University of St. Thomas (651) 962-5331
Halise Ozdemir, M.A., University of St. Thomas (651) 962-5331

Description of Faculty Directors
4472adilDr. Ozdemir is a clinical faculty of Theology at the University of St. Thomas. He is a native of Turkey and has taught Koranic studies since 1976. Dr. Ozdemir taught the course nationally and internationally, in pluralistic settings, such as UCC seminaries, as well as St. Thomas. He also taught for 25 years at 9 September University, in Izmir, Turkey. Dr. Ozdemir lived in Turkey for fifty years. He co-directed this course in 2009, 2011-2014 and directed it in 2010.

Ms. Ozdemir is a native of Turkey. She completed her BA and MA in philosophy at Middle East Technical University in Ankara and her MA in Islamic Studies and Muslim Christian Relations at Luther Seminary. Currently she is completing her Doctorate in Leadership at the University of St. Thomas. Ms. Ozdemir taught as a guest lecturer at various theology classes at UST. She has talked to congregations in the Twin Cities about Islam and is a member of various interfaith organizations such as SPIN, MCDC, ICM, and Minnesota Interfaith Initiative. She has an interfaith certificate from Yale University and participated in an international interfaith conference in Beirut, Lebanon in 2009. Ms. Ozdemir co-led this course in 2012-2014.

Application Procedures & Deadline
· Select the How to Apply link to start your online application.
· All applications received by your home institutions priority deadline will be sent to the faculty immediately. Applications will be taken after that deadline for programs with space still remaining until the final application deadline of October 1, 2014.

Final Application Deadline: October 1, 2014

For more information on course content, contact Prof. Adil Ozdemir
On application procedures or logistical information, contact your study abroad office.


How To Apply