Saturday, December 15, 2012


The Temple of Artemis in Ephesus. Picture found here.
I would have to say that one of the places that I am most excited to visit is Ephesus. Ancient European history has always fascinated me, and I especially enjoyed learning about struggles for power and imperialism and about how this imperialism affected societies' cultures and infrastructures. I enjoy being able to "see" history where it occurred, which is one of the main reasons why I wanted to apply for this course in the first place. My goal is to integrate what I already know about the area with what we see and learn while abroad to create a better understanding of the area and how its past culture has affected its society today. There is so much history surrounding ancient Turkey, with some of its evidence remaining for students and tourists to see today. Experiencing this history on site is what I am most excited about. I want to be able to see the evidence that remains and, as a result, be able to understand more about how and why the Romans, and eventually the Turks, took control of the city.
I remember learning about the Turks in my high school freshman and sophomore World History courses and being enthralled with how conflict and imperialism can change the course of history forever. For me, seeing the sights at Ephesus will allow all that I have learned about it to sink in and solidify the images that I have only seen in my textbooks and on Google. Although I am not sure of everything that we will being doing when we go to Ephesus, I am hoping to be able to see some of the ruins that give clues about Roman imperialism. Ephesus is home to the Temple of Artemis--one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Library of Celsus, and other sites that were built in or around the time of the Roman Empire. Visiting Ephesus, I think, will be one of the most rewarding experiences of the course because it will not only allow us to expand our knowledge about Roman imperialism, but it will also allow us to truly experience some of the most amazing aspects of ancient Turkish history and culture.

Thought you all might enjoy this comic strip... :)

Just a little historical humor to brighten your day! :)

(The comic strip is Barney & Clyde, by Gene Weingarten, Dan Weingarten, and David Clark.  See more here.)

Can't wait for the trip course!


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Apocalypse Fever Hits Turkey . . . Again

Just received this in the mail today!
As most of you know I study the Book of Revelation, which is also known as John's Apocalypse and which is the last book of the Christian Bible.  The Apocalypse, which was written in the first century CE as a response to the influence of the Roman Empire in Asia Minor (i.e. modern Turkey), was addressed to Christian congregations in seven cities, including Ephesus . . . one of the cities we will be visiting while we are abroad.  (FYI: I'm giddy over the thought of visiting Ephesus and when we get there you all might have to help me when I faint with excitement.)

Anyway, you all may be aware of the fact that the "Mayan Apocalypse" is predicted for December 21. And, interestingly, it seems that excitement over this apocalyptic scenario (which happens to be a product of European colonialism--ask me about that later) has spread to a little town near Ephesus!  It's like the Apocalypse has come home!

We'll definitely be talking some about the Apocalypse of John when we are in Ephesus (and Laodicea), in part because it shows how one group of people understood and tried to resist Roman imperialism. Also, since one of the aims of this course is to think about how particular fields of study engage in academic inquiry, Michael and I will be highlighting some of the ways that our disciplinary lenses and scholarly interests relate to what we are experiencing in Turkey.

(FYI:  If you're interested in a peak at some of my scholarship that kind of engages the ancient Roman world as it emerged in Asia Minor, you can check out an online article I've published here.  It's written for those in biblical studies, so it's pretty technical.)

Monday, December 10, 2012

OK . . . it's time for this

So, you may be familiar with this song, "Istanbul (not Constantinople).  If not, don't kill me for putting this in your head!  Anyway, while the song was originally record in the 1950s it was covered in 1990 by They Might Be Giants, a smart, yet somewhat nutty, band popular with all the cool kids during that time.  (For what it's worth, I've probably seen TMBG in concert more times than any other band . . . although I'm not 100% sure about that.)  But here you go . . . don't laugh too hard at the 1990s video effects.