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New study abroad program focuses on Istanbul

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Office of Global Programs has partnered with Boğazici University in Turkey to offer Columbia students a new summer program focused on the history, architecture and urban development of Istanbul. Formerly known as Byzantium and Constantinople, Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey, and one of the most significant cities in history, having served as the capital of the Roman Empire and the Byzantine Empire.

This program, which is open to students in Columbia College, The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, General Studies, Barnard and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, involves research, fieldwork, coursework and a series of excursions to explore and understand Istanbul’s rich topography, history, cultures and religions. The program can accommodate students from various academic backgrounds and no prior knowledge of Turkish is required.

“Columbia’s Department of Art History and Archaeology regularly offers lecture courses and seminars on Late Antique, Early Christian and Byzantine art and archaeology. But it has never offered a focused on-site seminar that explored the rich political, artistic and cultural history of the city of Byzantion/Constantinople/Istanbul from the time of its foundation as the capital of the (East) Roman Empire under Constantine the Great in 330 CE to the first Golden Age of Ottoman rule in the 16th century,” said Professor Holger A. Klein, chair of the Department of Art History and Archaeology. “The establishment of a joint summer  program between Columbia University and Boğazici University in Istanbul in the summer of 2013 now provides a unique opportunity to offer a class on the monuments and artistic heritage of the Late Antique, Byzantine and Ottoman Empires focused on their capital city.”

“The course will give students an opportunity to learn about the urban development, history and architecture of Byzantion/Constantinople/Istanbul in a series of day-long excursions that will allow them to explore and understand Istanbul’s modern topography as an exciting palimpsest of empires, cultures and religions first hand,” Klein added. “A research and fieldwork component will add practical experience in architectural site documentation, QuickTime, VirtualReality photography, archival work and conservation.”

As a part of the program, students will be enrolled in two courses at Boğazici University, one of the most prominent universities in Turkey: Art History S4350: Byzantion—Constantinople—Istanbul: A City and its Monuments and History S3992: Introduction to Byzantine History (300-1453 CE).

“Columbia has a tradition of collaborating and exchanging students with Boğazici, so we are excited to expand upon this relationship through this joint summer program. One of the things that makes it so innovative is that Boğazici and Columbia students will be studying together, being taught by both Columbia and Boğazici faculty in Istanbul,” said Michael Pippenger, dean of Undergraduate Global Programs and Assistant Vice President of International Education. “Moreover, by having a fieldwork component, students will be actively engaging the resources of Istanbul through their coursework and that will provide a wonderful opportunity for them.”

The Office of Global Programs coordinates more than 200 study abroad programs in cities across the globe. Columbia students from all majors have the opportunity to live for a summer, semester or entire academic year in a different country, immerse themselves in the local culture and study at a prominent host institution.

For more information on the Istanbul summer program and other Columbia study abroad opportunities, visit the Office of Global Programs website.