Skip to page Content.

Sibel Erol

Clinical Professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies ; Director of Undergraduate Studies

Ph.D. 1993, University of California, Berkeley

Office Address: 

Department of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies 50 Washington Square South New York, NY 10012


(212) 992-9622


(212) 995-4689

Courses Taught:

Elementary Turkish
Intermediate Turkish
Advanced Turkish

The goal of the Turkish courses is to build communicative and cultural proficiency in all skills of speaking, reading, writing and comprehension. Elementary and Intermediate Turkish courses are undergraduate courses, open to graduate students. Advanced Turkish courses are graduate seminars, open to undergraduate students.

Elementary Turkish aims at giving an overview of general Turkish grammar, using concrete situations, engendering in the students the skills of getting around in Turkey as well as preparing them for further work in Turkish. There is also an emphasis on reading simple materials such as ads, headlines, invitations, poetry, children's books and on writing dialogues, directions, descriptions, summaries and simple stories. Intermediate Turkish introduces complex grammar, and readings of short stories, travel writings, plays and of newspaper articles. Oral work is built on the reading pieces. Conversations about and analysis of the specific pieces become jumping points to more general discussions. Writing assignments become longer and more complex.

Advanced Turkish is an introductory course to Turkish literature geared to acquaint students with canonical prose and poetic works, and with films. This course is conducted in seminar style with reading assignments, short written papers, and oral reports as well as class projects.

Areas of Research/Interest: 

Turkish Language; role of writing in teaching language; the uses of literature in language teaching; the novel; nationalism; women authors; postmodernism; masculinities; film


Both my teaching and research encompass language and literature. I think that one can’t completely understand a culture without being exposed to its literature, and conversely that one can’t fully appreciate literature without understanding the use and operations of the language it is written in.

I have studied both of these areas in my educational career. My Ph.D. is in Comparative Literature from the University of California, Berkeley (with an M.A. in English from Berkeley). I hold a literature and language degree, with a minor in linguistics, as well as a teaching certificate from Bogaziçi University.

I work on a variety of topics such nationalism, modernity, postmodernism, gender, film and the novel. I am currently editing a book in Turkish on Orhan Pamuk’s novel Snow. My previous publications on Pamuk’s works include Reading Orhan Pamuk’s Snow as Parody: Difference as Sameness (originally appearing in Comparative Literary Studies, then reprinted twice in Contemporary Literary Criticism and Twentieth Century Criticism, respectively), and The Chronotope of Istanbul in Orhan Pamuk’s Memoir Istanbul (published in IJMES). I have written extensively on the authors of the republican period such as Yakup Kadri Karaosmanoglu and Resat Nuri Güntekin. I work on women authors: on Halide Edib Adivar, Adalet Agaoglu, Nazli Eray, Latife Tekin, Sevgi Soysal, Leyla Erbil among others. I have written a series of introductions for Halide Edib’s Memoirs, for the English translations of Adalet Agaoglu’s Summer’s End (Yazsonu) and of Nazli Eray’s Orpheus (Orfee). I have appeared in the Halide Edib documentary The Greedy Heart of Halide. I have contributed an essay on Turkish literature to the award-winning Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam and Women, describing and analyzing the works of Turkish women authors. I have recently published Does Turkish Literature Exist: An Attempt to Answer through the Works of Leyla Erbil, Savkar Altinel and Ataol Behramoglu, in the Journal of Levantine Studies.

Selected Publications: 

“Does Turkish Literature Exist: An Attempt to Answer through the Works of Leyla Erbil, Savkar AltInel and Ataol Behramoglu,” in Journal of Levantine Studies, v. 4, no. 1 Summer 2014, pp. 131-149

“Turkish Literature” in Oxford Encyclopedia of Women and Islam, edited by Natana J. Delong-Bas, Oxford University Press, October 2013, pp. 365-373

Book reviews of Moris Farhi’s Journey Through the Wilderness, and Children of the Rainbow in The Turkish Studies Association Journal, v. 29, no. 1-2, 2005-2013, pp. 119-124

“Reading Orhan Pamuk’s Snow as Parody: Difference as Sameness” reprinted in Twentieth Century Criticism: Topics Volume (vol. 274), New York, San Francisco, Connecticut, Maine, London: Gale Publishing, 2012, pp. 163-178

“The Chronotope of Istanbul in Orhan Pamuk’s Memoir Istanbul,” in International Journal of Middle East Studies, vol. 43.4, November 2011, pp. 655-676

“Modern Turkish Plays: The Ideal of Being Human” International Journal of Turkish Studies, vol 16, no. 1-2, Fall 2010, pp. 93-103

Updated on 02/15/2017