Thursday, October 18, 2012


This past weekend found Professor Burak Erdim up at University of Virginia defending his dissertation, titled "Middle East Technical University and Revolution: Development Planning and ARchitectural Education during the Cold War, 1950-62".  The weekend was a success, and we now have another Doctorate-decorated professor in our College!  

The following professors made up Dr. Erdim's dissertation committee.
-Professor Sheila Crane (Art and Architectural History), UVA (director of dissertation)
-Professor Richard Guy Wilson (Architectural History), UVA
-Professor Dell Upton (Architectural History) UCLA
-Professor Gülsüm Baydar (Architecture), Yaşar University, Izmir, Turkey
-Professor David Waldner (Political Science), UVA (reader from Arts + Sciences) 

We asked Dr. Erdim to sum up the defense experience - his description is below.

"The defense was actually very enjoyable and productive. I made a 12-minute introduction that summed up the objectives and the methodologies of the project. The committee was impressed with the clarity of this introduction and, I think, this piece was responsible for getting everything started on the right path. I am so thankful that I was able to put that together before the defense. Professor Sheila Crane then opened the floor for questions allowing Professor Upton to begin since I had begun this project under his supervision in 2005. Generally speaking, my committee members were pleased and impressed with the work, pointing out certain problems with the current organization and asking me questions about how I might address those issues in the future of this study. In the process, many key ideas emerged in terms of how I could frame the content of the dissertation in future publications. I was very pleased with the discussion since this is essentially how you want a dissertation defense to go where the committee is spending their time and energy on the future of the work. The committee did not require any major revisions, although they did point out that I had close six-hundred pages in the main body of the text and only four pages as the conclusion to the dissertation. So, they asked me to write a more substantial conclusion. Following the dissertation, I also got the chance to speak with Professor Crane at length about the comments and the defense. This was also very helpful since everything was fresh in our minds. 
I am very thankful to Professor Sheila Crane and to all the members of my committee for their great support and guidance in this work. It is not possible to do a work a like this without the support of outstanding scholars, mentors, and teachers, but also institutions. I understand that more than ever at this point in my career and I hope to continue that circle of scholarship through my teaching at NC State."

Congratulations, Dr. Burak Erdim!  Now you have the time to go on those long runs you've been missing out on!

See the abstract below written by Dr. Erdim for a more detailed look at his impressive work. 

"Through the analysis of the inception and development of the Middle East Technical University (METU), my dissertation examines the relationship among diverging ideologies of development within the political context of the Cold War. METU was established initially as a School of Architecture and Community planning through an unlikely partnership between the United Nations Housing and Town and Country Planning agency (UN-HTCP), the University of Pennsylvania School of Fine Arts, and the Turkish Republic in the relatively new Turkish capital, Ankara in 1956. The study shows how the idea of architectural training and education emerged as a new strategy of development and as a common ground among these multiple agents. It also examines how prevalent ideas in development, architectural education and planning were contested, transformed, and implemented within this dynamic as it examines the making of the School's innovative curriculum and the planning of its campus. As a result, the study shows that METU, as a case study of postwar projects of social and economic development and cooperation, was not a product of a singular program, agency, or an ideology. Instead, the project reveals that METU emerged as a product of contentious relationships among multiple political and professional groups. In this way, the dissertation does not only problematize current definitions of the Cold War, but it also identifies how professional groups, such as architects, planners, lawyers, and state officials of multiple disciplines, participated in this dynamic."

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