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
Phone: (212) 992-9622
Fax: (212) 995-4689

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

I teach both Turkish language and literature, and I find that teaching these two things simultaneously presents not only a rewarding continuum, but also a complementary dynamic which widens my perspective as a teacher. There is a continuum because learning a language is like building an edifice block by block-- blocks for language study are components of grammar, vocabulary and culture. Some students keep building to higher level of literature study. It is thrilling to watch the development of students from not having any background in Turkish to reading their first poem in elementary Turkish, newspaper article and short story in intermediate Turkish and then their first novel in advanced Turkish. I also think language students are literature readers par excellence because they are continually under the influence of the defamiliarization effect of literature through their keen awareness of language as a medium. They respond to language as the very means of constructing the meaning they are grappling with rather than glossing over it as a transparent vehicle of communication. As a teacher, going back and forth between language and literature allows me to look at both fields from the outside, and in terms of each other rather than only teaching from within one discipline. My double perspective is further enriched by the variety of the experiences of my American, Turkish and other international students.

The goal of the Turkish courses is to build communicative and cultural proficiency. 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. I graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 1993 with a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature. I have a teaching certificate as well as a B.A. in linguistics and literature from Bogazici University. I taught freshman composition and Turkish as graduate instructor at Berkeley. After graduation, I taught Turkish, Comparative Literature and Women's Studies courses at Washington University in St. Louis before joining NYU. I work on the authors of the early republican period such as Yakup Kadri, Halide Edip and Resat Nuri in the context of Turkish nationalism, and on contemporary women authors such as Adalet Agaoglu, Nazli Eray and Latife Tekin. I also work on masculinity and film. My current research focuses on Orhan Pamuk.

"Reading Orhan Pamuk's Snow as Parody: Difference as Sameness" Comparative Critical Studies  4.3 (December 2007), pp. 403-432. This is being re-printed in Contemporary Literary Criticism vol. 288, in 2010.

 “Adalet Agaoglu’s Summer’s End” in Contemporary Turkish Culture, vol. 1, no. 2, 2008, pp. 29-44. This is also the "Introduction" to the translation of Adalet Agaoglu's Summer's End  (Talisman Press, 2008), pp 1-15
  "Kar'da Metinlerarasi Dolasim" (Intertextual Circulation in Snow) in the edited volume Orhan Pamuk'un Edebi Dunyasi  (The Literary World of Orhan Pamuk), ed. by Nuket Esen and Engin Kilic, (Iletisim Yayinlari, 2008), pp. 245-265.
"Introduction" to the English translation of Nazli Eray's Orpheus  (University of Texas Press, August 2006), pp. ix-xxiii.
"Halide Edib Adivar" The Encyclopedia of Western Colonialism pp. 336-7 (2006).
Review of Elif Shafak's The Saint of Incipient Insanities,, AATT Bulletin  pp. 53-58 (summer 2006).    
French translation of "Necip Fazil Kisakurek" Encyclopaedia of Islam Supplement. pp. 25 (2004).
 "Introduction" for Memoirs of Halide Edib  (Charlottesville, Virginia: Leopolis Press, 2003): vii-xxxv.
"Toplumsal Dis Gercekcilik ve Kisisel Ic Siir: Adalet Agaoglu'nun Romanlarindaki Ince Ayar," Hayata Bakan Edebiyat :Adalet Agaoglu'nun Yapitlarina Elestirel Yaklasimlar  ed. by Nuket Esen and Erol Koroglu (Istanbul: Bogazici University Press, 2003): 5-32 .

Review of Adalet Agaoglu's Curfew in Middle East Studies Association Bulletin 35 (Summer 2001) 76-77.

Review of Tariq Ali's Stone Woman in The Middle East Journal 55:2 (Spring 2001) 340-2.

Entries on "Adalet Agaoglu," "Nazli Eray," "Furuzan," "Aysel Ozakin," "Sevgi Soysal" and "Latife Tekin" in Who's Who in Contemporary Women's Literature, ed. by Jane E. Miller (London and New York: Routledge, 2001).

"Yakup Kadri Karaosmanoglu" Encyclopaedia of Islam Supplement.

"Using Literature in Language Teaching" American Association of Teachers of Turkish Bulletin 25-26 (Spring 2000-Fall 2000): 18-22.

"Review of Feyza Hepcilingir's Turkce Off" American Association of Teachers of Turkic Languages Bulletin 23-24 (Spring-Fall 1999):18-21.

"Sexual Discourse in Turkish Fiction: Return of the Repressed Female Identity" Edebiyat 6.2 (October 1995): 187-202.

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