The biography of Dr. Floyd Black, the President of Robert College and the American College for Girls in Istanbul, Turkey between 1942-1955 was written by his son Cyril Edwin Black, upon the death of his father. The unpublished manuscript which was meant for the members of the Black family and friends, is an interesting account of the fruitful career of Dr. Black which began in Sofia College in Bulgaria, and continued in Robert College and the American College for Girls, in Istanbul, Turkey.
The biography of Dr. Floyd Black provides insight into the lives and personal commitment of Americans to the ideal of educating the modern individual in a college curriculum of humanities with modern sciences and professional training that honored the basic awareness of the need for respecting the differences among the student body coming from a rich background of divergent cultures.
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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.
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In October 1857, two young brothers …were ushered into the drawing room of Christopher Rhinelander Robert, noted New York merchant and philanthropist… They requested Robert to help finance the opening of an institution of higher learning in İstanbul.
So begins the story of the founding of Robert College, the first American institution of higher education abroad, and predecessor of Boğaziçi University, nearly one and a half centuries ago. It is first and foremost the story of the character and aspirations of Cyrus Hamlin, the driving force behind the establishment of the school, and of the complex relationship betwen him and the other two individuals who made the realization of this educational project possible, Christopher Robet and George Washburn. This in itself is a fascinating and compelling tale, one that will hold the attention not only of those interested in the institution itself but of a much wider readership.
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A Voyage Through American Literature and Culture Via Turkey is a Festschrift prepared by Belma Ötüş Baskett and Oya Başak and edited by Nur Gökalp Akkerman to celebrate Prof. Dr. Sam S. Baskett’s 90th Birthday with the contributions of his friends, colleagues and former students from around the world.
Sam S. Baskett, Professor of English (Emeritus), Ph.D. Berkeley , University of California, taught at Michigan State University for forty years, as well as other universities in various countries like The Universita Autonomo of Mexico, Hacettepe and Bilkent Universities in Turkey, Kobe College in Japan, and University of Surrey at Roehampton in the United Kingdom on Fulbright and State Department grants and direct appointments. One of his first works was American Identity used as a Freshman English textbook in many universities for many years. He has contributed chapters to many books and anthologies have been reprinting his seminal essays on a number of writers, including Jack London, T. S. Eliot, Ernest Hemingway, and most recently, Yaşar Kemal and the Turkish Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk. He is the recipient of Distinguished Faculty Award of Central Methodist College. He now lives in Istanbul and contributes book reviews to journals in the United Kingdom.
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Following the losses suffered during the two major earthquakes that struck Turkey in 1999, there has been broad recognition among Turkey's governmental, non-governmental and academic organizations of the need for extensive response planning based on detailed risk analyses of likely seismic hazards in Turkey in general and Istanbul in particular.
The current research project had the following objectives:
1. The development of an Istanbul metropolitan area risk model based on current data, on:
• Hazard assessment based on the seismo-tectonic structure, surface geology and local site conditions.
• Shaking intensities anticipated for a deterministic scenario earthquake (M=7.5) along the Main Marmara Fault
• The spatial distribution of building tpes within the general building stock and their respective levels of vulnerability to earthquake damage.
2. The development of estimates for human and social impacts as a result of such a scenario earthquake, including: building damage, casualties and people left homeless. Damage to infrastructure and lifelines are only dealt with in general terms based on the intensity levels.
3. Public provision fo the results via the Internet to enable disaster response planing.
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