Alliance of Civilizations


MIE 604 World Civilizations Through Modern Texts

1. Name of the course


MIE 604 World Civilizations Through Modern Texts


2. Contact information

3. Course description 

This course aims to critically engage students with the idea of a ‘modern era’ in world civilizations. It problematizes what the ‘modern’ might both in terms of when the ‘modern’ era starts, also how this modernity may be expressed in literature in different parts of the world. The course is engages the students primarily with literary texts in order to problematize the relationship between official histories and creative responses to world events. The chosen texts are those that deal with moments of crises such as the scientific and industrial revolutions, war and cultural reform. In the readings and class discussion the relationship between knowledge, power, class and gender will especially be highlighted, along with the complicated relationship Europe has with the rest of the world.



4. Assumed/required prior knowledge

Students graduated from all social sciences and humanities BA programs can take this course.  Students must have enough English speaking skills to contribute to class as the class is held more like a seminar than a lecture. They are also expected to submit papers in good academic English.



5. Learning resources 

The professor will direct you to online and library resources at the beginning of the semester. All the material covered in class will be made available from the beginning of term, and the course TA will make sure all the students have access to the readings.


6. Learning objectives


Introduces students to a selection of modern texts from different parts of the world

Realigns discussions of modernity with references to historical and geographical context

Identifies current approaches to reading seminal texts that have influenced discussions of modernism

Identifies how the spirit of the age may find embodiment in literature

Raises awareness about different critical reading methods with special attention to class, gender and religion

Reviews artistic explorations of the successes and failures of the passage into modernity

7. Learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, students will


Become familiar with discussions of modernity

Be able to apply the theories they have learned primarily in a Mediterranean and European context more widely

Be able to analyze emerging conceptions of ‘the modern’ through critical methods learned in the class

Be aware of a genealogy of responses to humans’ ability to transform and produce new subjectivities and consciousnesses

Produce written work concerning political and cultural world events that have a bearing on the new conceptions of modernity


8. Assessment and grading scale


Midterm: 30%

Presentation-Paper: 30%

Final: 40%

Grading System:

Letter     Numeric   Success

AA         4,00          Pass

BA         3,50          Pass

BB         3,00          Pass

CB         2,50          Cond. Pass

CC         2,00          Cond. Pass

FF          0,00          Fail

IA          0,00          Fail Did not attend



9. Attendance, academic integrity, including collaboration and plagiarism.

75% attendance is required. Collaboration with course-mates is encouraged as long as the lecturer is informed well before hand about the project and what each party will bring to it. Plagiarism will result in failing the class

10. Statement encouraging student wellness


Students are encouraged to be aware of self-care and contact the related facilities of the university if they are in need of pastoral care.

11. Expected semester schedule


1st Week

Modern Times:

Metropolis, film screening

2nd Week

Mediterrenean Conflicts:

Othello, Shakespeare (1564-1616)

3rd Week

Emergence of Modern Man:

Paradise Lost, Milton (1608-1674)

Paradise Lost is composed of ‘Books’. Each book starts with a one page/less than one page ‘Argument’ section. You need to read all the ‘Argument’ sections so you don’t lose the plot. We will be looking only at Books 3-4-7-9 in detail.

4th Week

‘Age of Exploration’:

Evliya Çelebi (1611 –1682) (Jerusalem and Syria sections- about 100 pages, as photocopy)

5th Week

Knowledge and Power

Dr. Faustus, Goethe (1749 –1832)

6th Week

Tales of Prometheus

Frankenstein, Mary Shelley

7th Week


Tagore (1861-1941)

Midterm Paper Due: 1000-1500 words

8th Week


The Waste Land, TS Eliot

9th Week

Gender Polemics:

Virginia Woolf, Three Guineas

10th Week

Towards the Nation State:

The Turkish Ordeal, Halide Edib

11th Week


Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys (1890-1979)

12th Week

Remains of Empire:

Saatleri Ayarlama Enstitüsü, Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar (1901-1962)

13th Week

The Space Age:

Solaris, Andrei Tarkovsky (film screening)

14th week

Emancipatory Readings:

Quran and Woman, Amina Wadud



12. Participation, re-grading, use of mobile devices, student recording of class

You will receive the highest score as long as you come to class and actively contribute to the class discussions. We encourage students to participate into class discussion as long as their participation relates to readings and other assigned material. Students are free to talk as they need to respects others in class. Student should wait for other student to finish presenting his argument and should not interrupt the speaker, they should not take the word but instead wait for it to be given by the instructor or class discussant.

Re-grading: The student can ask to re-grade their exams or papers, they need to send an e-mail in advance stating clearly the reason of re-grading.

Mobile Devices: Students can consult to internet through their mobile devices to contribute to the class discussion. We discourage personal use during class.

To record the class the student must obtain the instructor’s permission in advance. The instructor must inform all the students that the class is being recorded.


13. Study tips

Check the syllabus thoroughly to identify how much reading is needed for each week and allocate time accordingly

Get together with course-mates to review reading material

Pay attention to the news and cultural events in town that may enhance the understanding of reading material

Use university resources to get the best out of the our facilities.

14. Relevant campus resources 


Writing Centre


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