Orlin Sabev

  • Spiritus Roberti

    Yazar: Orlin Sabev

    Shaping New Minds and Robert College in Late Ottoman Society (1863-1923)

    This book is dedicated to Robert College’s 150th anniversary. Being founded by American missionaries in Constantinople in 1863, the college kept its vitality due to its ability to adjust the sound theory of education introduced by its founders and instructors to the changing social and political context, as well as its alumni who distinguished themselves as professionals and leaders, but above all as characters. The book approaches the Ottoman period of Robert College’s sesquicentennial history by focusing on certain hitherto neglected topics and issues related to its nature and educational ideals, as well as to its student body, and by exploring the college’s archives, dispersed in Turkey and the United States, the government archives of Ottoman and early republican period, and other vernacular archives. The book moves the object of research from the subjects who were responsible for the foundation, function and development of the college toward the object of their educational activity: the students. To this aim the book is focused on the student body and space is provided for the voice of students as preserved in their recollections.

    The book delineates the specific place and role of the college in the field of Ottoman education by promoting Protestant ideals through liberal education. On paper the college was an independent institution that was not aimed at proselytizing the local peoples but in reality the religious character of the college was indisputable. The so-called “secular Protestantism” affected the whole concept of education practiced at the college and it affected more or less the students’ mindset. The college put emphasis on the formation of strong characters in its students so as to make them able to take responsibility for their own life and development. It was achieved, not only nor even mainly through the course of studies in a wide variety of fields, but also through the all-round atmosphere in the college and especially the personal relationship between the students and their instructor. On the basis of statistics drawn from various relevant sources, the book traces out the dynamics in student enrollment and outlines those periods in the college’s history in which certain nationalities were prevalent, not only in terms of physical presence but also in terms of influence in the student body. The book defines subsequent “national” periods, specifically “Bulgarian”, “Armenian”, “Greek”, and “Turkish” periods, paying special attention to the relations between the nationalities represented in Robert College’s student body. The book provides also prosopographical research of the Bulgarian and Turkish students, based on data collected from the catalogues of students, preserved in the college archives.

    The book combines various approaches characteristic of different fields and thus is a multidisciplinary study of Robert College’s Ottoman past. Being focused on certain issues related to the nature and educational ideals of the college in close relation with its student body, the book reveals previously unexplored or partly and insufficiently studied aspects that have much to do with disciplines and sub-disciplines such as social history, history of religion, history of education, cultural studies, and political studies.

     

    D&R’DAN SATIN AL IDEFIX’TEN SATIN AL