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July 11, 2006

ULM professors explore Turkey

On June 28, two ULM professors embarked on a month-long adventure to Turkey thanks to a Fulbright-Hayes Curriculum Development Grant.

The grant enables ULM's C. Turner Steckline, communication, and Marsha McGee, sociology, along with 12 other people from surrounding universities, to immerse in Turkish culture, connect with both academic and community resources, and prepare lesson plans that incorporate their experiences into the courses they teach. The group, which is touring much of western Turkey, including Istanbul, Bursa, Ankara and Izmir, will return July 28.

While the group has only been gone a short time, they are quickly absorbing many facets of the Turkish culture, Steckline said. "We are all learning a great deal about the arts and crafts of Turkey, the agriculture, architecture, history, political significance, economics and changing dynamics of what may be one of the most complicated geopolitical situations of today's world."

The group's primary focus is women's issues - examining the impact of secularization on women's roles in an Islamic country, Steckline said. "My own research interests are varied, but I'm certainly looking at storytelling, identity and culture; and observing the constructions of national identity in specific narratives."

Additional tour participants, who specialize in music, education, library sciences, theology, social work, criminal justice and anthropology, include: four from Eastern Tennessee State University, four from Grambling, one from University of Arkansas-Little Rock, one from Auburn University in Alabama, one from University of Louisiana at Lafayette and one from Oakwood College in Alabama.

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