Turkish Fulbright professor returns Marquette to teach

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Political science professor Simten Cosar returned to Marquette from Baskent University in Ankara, Turkey and is teaching two courses at NMU until the end of the semester.

In 2007, Cosar came to NMU for a month as part of the Fulbright Specialist Program: Direct Access to the Muslim World. According to Fulbright Scholar’s Web site, the visiting specialists of this program are encouraged to participate in public outreach programs, interact with students and expose people to Islamic civilization and culture including its social, political and economic implications.

According to Fulbright Program, scholars must either apply with a partner at another university or they can apply individually and be matched. The first time that Cosar visited Marquette, she applied to be matched. This is how she met NMU Communications and Performance Studies professor Louise Bourgault.

“When she was here the first time, Dr. Cosar assisted me and other faculty (members) with guest lectures in their classes. I discovered then how well we got along. We enjoyed working with one another, so I thought it might be nice to bring her back to NMU for a semester-long Fulbright,” said Bourgault.

As a result of their success, Cosar applied to be a Fulbright scholar for the second time in conjunction with Bourgault.
“We didn’t know whether we should apply together or separately, but apparently we made the right choice since they accepted us,” Cosar said.

This year, Cosar is here under the Fulbright Scholar in Residence program which allows scholars to spend time teaching a wide variety of subjects at a university. The program is highly competitive and she is one of 850 scholars given the opportunity to participate. Cosar is teaching Women, the Middle East, and the Media as well as Global Communication in the Communication and Performance Studies department at NMU.
In addition to the teaching that both professors must do, they will be publishing at least one article jointly.

“One of the projects that we are working on together is about “Blossoming Dreams” which is a serial drama in Turkey. It has never been studied before,” said Cosar.

She also said that this is a great joint publication for them to do since, as a political science professor, she is able to analyze the serial drama in the context of political implications while Bourgault is a specialist in media studies and adds her experience to the publication.

This publication will explore the media’s construction of the ideal Muslim woman in a television serial drama. Cosar’s interest in this subject may have something to do with the fact that, as she says, she has been a feminist all of her life.

“Dr. Cosar is a very committed scholar. She lives her feminist beliefs,” said Bourgault.

Although not all of her academic publications and research are driven by feminism, Cosar is a very active participant in feminist movements in Turkey and all over the world. She participates in and was once an executive committee member for Ka-Der, the Association for Supporting and Training Women Candidates.

Since the Fulbright Scholarship that Cosar and Bourgault received requires that they co-teach courses in their respective universities, Dr. Bourgault will travel to Turkey with Dr. Cosar at the end of the semester so that she can then teach at Baskent University for a semester. Although the courses that Bourgault will teach aren’t definite as of yet, she hopes to teach a special topics course by the name of The Best of Global Communication and the Best of Intercultural Communication.

“I’m excited for Louise to come to Turkey with me in the winter. I will miss the beauty of Marquette, but not the cold,” said Cosar.