Winter Term in Turkey

Cunday skyline

Continuity and Change in Aegean Turkey and Istanbul

Cunda Turkey

Winter Term Study Excursion ~ January 2019

Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Harvard University

About the Excursion

The Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard is again offering a Winter Term Study Excursion in Cunda (pronounced JUNE-dah), Turkey for January 2019 for Harvard college undergraduate students. The program’s three-week itinerary is centered on the island of Cunda, located on Turkey’s Aegean coast, with additional visits to Istanbul, Izmir, and Bergama (Pergamon). We begin with several days in Istanbul, visiting monuments such as the Sultanahmet and Suleymaniye mosques, the Hagia Sophia Museum, and other monuments from the city’s Byzantine and Ottoman past. Students will explore the deep layers of history found in the old city and along the Bosphorus, taking time to sample Turkey’s exquisite cuisine along the way.  The heart of the trip is an extended stay on Cunda Island. Here, we will engage with region’s complex past via an array of literary, historical, and cinematic works. During our stay on the island we will enjoy a hands-on introduction to Aegean cuisine and also explore enduring local traditions such as olive oil production and shipbuilding. From our base in Cunda we will spend a day exploring the archaeological sites of ancient Bergama. Our Aegean exploration concludes with an overnight trip to the port city of Izmir (Smyrna), followed by a return to Istanbul with plenty of time for additional museum visits and shopping in the city’s famed bazaars.

This trip is ideal for Harvard college students with history or literature interests as we explore Aegean Turkey and Istanbul.  Preference will be given to undergraduate students who concentrate in Near or Middle Eastern Studies.

Required Readings (provided by the Program):

Kafadar, Cemal. Between Two Worlds: the construction of the Ottoman State. Berkeley: Univ of CA Press, 1995.

Necipoğlu, Gülru, The Age of Sinan (selections). Princeton: Princeton Univ Press, 2005.

Zurcher, Erik. Turkey: a modern history, 3rd ed. New York: I.D. Tauris, 2004.

Tanpinar, Ahmet Hamdi. The Time Regulation Institute. New York: Penguin Books, 2013.

Pamuk, Orhan. Istanbul: memories and the city. New York. Knopf, 2005.

Recommended Readings

Fromkin, David. A Peace to End All Peace: creating the modern Middle East. New York: Holt, 1989.

King, Charles. Midnight at Pera Palace: the birth of modern Istanbul. New York: W.W. Norton Company, 2014.

Mazower, Mark. Salonika, City of Ghosts. London: HarperCollins, 2004

Pamuk, Orhan. My Name is Red. New York: Knopf, 2001.

Elif Shafak. The Bastard of Istanbul. New York: Viking, 2007.

Barry Unsworth. Pascali’s Island. London: M. Joseph, 1980.

Logistical Information

The first few days will take place in Istanbul, then on Cunda island for the majority of the trip with a day trip to Bergama. After an overnight visit to Izmir, we return to Istanbul for 1 night as the program’s end.  This course is not for credit, and will have required readings. Nine students will be admitted to the program, which will be led by an advanced doctoral student in Turkish studies.  

There will be a $500 program fee.  Students will be provided accommodations, all travel costs, two meals per day, and reading materials.  Students are expected to cover additional meals and other personal incidental costs.  

Travel dates are still being determined, and may be January 2-January 23, 2019.

Learn More

Please join us at the upcoming event Engaging the World: International Opportunities at Harvard College on Friday, October 26 from 1-4 pm at the Cabot Library for more information about this and other funding opportunities from the Center for Middle Eastern Studies. 


To apply, please apply using CARAT (Centralized Application for Research and Travel) by 11:59 p.m. Friday, October 19, 2018  due date extended for Engaging the World  event: October 30, 2018, at 11:59 p.m.

Application available at:  Center for Middle Eastern Studies January 2019 Winter Term Study Excursion to Cunda Turkey.

The application will ask for your Harvard transcript, resume, one letter of recommendation from a Harvard professor, and a statement of purpose. Your statement of purpose should address your interest and academic background in Middle Eastern Studies and should be between 300-500 words.

Questions about the program should be directed to Carol Ann L. Young, Administrative and Academic Coordinator, at


Important Dates 

October 26: Info session: Engaging the World: International Opportunities at Harvard College, 1-4 pm, Cabot Library. 

October 30 : Deadline for application submission on CARAT (Due 11:59 pm)


Istanbul factory





See also: Turkey