E-Newsletter - September 2015

New Academic Year in NMC

Info session for TAs

NMC kicked off the Fall term with a variety of information sessions and workshops for new and returning students and instructors. This year the Teaching Assistant training workshop was combined with the WIT TA training session. WIT (Writing Instruction for TAs) is a Faculty of Arts and Science initiative that seeks to incorporate writing instruction within disciplinary teaching. There is extensive overlap between skilled writing instruction and effective pedagogy in general; therefore the department invited all TAs, TA instructors, sessional instructors, and relevant faculty members. The session was led jointly by Professor Robert Holmstedt Undergraduate Coordinator, and Jonathan Vroom, Lead Writing TA, and covered topics including classroom management, syllabus design, creation of tutorial exercises, and assignment design. The approximately 30 attendees and presenters contributed to engaging and thoughtful discussion regarding teaching methods that will be put in place during upcoming semesters. Everyone felt this event was a resounding success! (Photo © Robert Holmstedt)

Graduate student orientation

On September 10th, NMC hosted the traditional graduate orientation for new incoming and returning graduate students and faculty. The new students were welcomed to the department by the members of the Graduate Students Association, who spoke about academic as well as extracurricular activities (such as the famous NMC volleyball team) and how students can engage with the wider community at the U of T. The formal part of the orientation included instruction on the programme requirements presented by Prof. Tirzah Meacham, Graduate Coordinator.

Dr. Rachel Cayley, Senior Lecturer, Office of English Language and Writing Support (ELWS) discussed the School of Graduate Studies and the Writing Support Program, and Nicholas Lloyd-Kuzik, from the Centre for International Experience (Student Life) introduced students to the Safety Abroad Program. The day concluded with a reception featuring delicious Middle Eastern cuisine.

Turkish Studies in NMC - CSATS Launch

CSATS launch

We are pleased to announce the formal launch of the Canadian Society for the Advancement of Turkish Studies (CSATS), which took place at a reception on September 24th. This special event, held at Hart House, opened with speeches by the members of the CSATS’ executive committee, Dr. Sema Donna Kenan and Dr. Mustafa Koç, followed by an entertaining lecture given by Prof. Virginia Aksan, entitled “Writing the Ottomans onto the World Map: A Personal Journey”. Following the lecture, Dr. Kenan reviewed the structure and mission of the Society. Vice Consul of Turkey Gökhan Toy, and Prof. Tim Harrison (NMC), welcomed everyone, then introduced Dr. Lütfü Savaş, the Mayor of Antakya (Turkey), who briefly addressed the audience.

Attendees at the CSATS event

Aside from bringing together people interested in the study of ancient, modern and contemporary Turkish cultures and societies, CSATS is also raising funds to support students at the U of T pursuing careers in Turkish Studies. On this special occasion, Sharon Mizbani, one of NMC’s outstanding Masters students, was awarded the Canadian Turkish Community Scholarship, created from donations made by the Turkish community in Toronto. For more information visit: CSATS

Mayor of Antakya Visit

Dr. Lütfü Savaş

Dr. Tim Harrison and NMC hosted Dr. Lütfü Savaş, the Mayor of the city of Antakya (Turkey), for meetings, held September 24-25th, regarding the development of the Tell Tayinat Archaeological Park and Research Centre. The result of these talks will see Antakya join the University's Global Cities Initiative, as well as strengthen ties between the University of Toronto and the city of Antakya. (Photo © Rado Kabatiar)

Publications and Research

NMC’s Professor Emeritus Todd Lawson has recently published an article entitled “Joycean Modernism in a Nineteenth-Century Qur’an Commentary?: A Comparison of the Bab’s Qayyūm Al-Asmā’ with Joyce’s Ulysses.” In Erin and Iran: Cultural Encounters between the Irish and the Iranians.

Tell Tayinat

The 2015 Tell Tayinat (Hatay Province, Turkey) excavation season ran from June 1 to August 1st, with the support of SSHRC, and the University of Toronto. This season’s work focused on excavations and conservation of the settlement’s Citadel, “Sacred Precinct” and Monumental Gateway areas. The team, led by Prof. Tim Harrison and Dr. Stephen Batiuk, with the participation of NMC doctoral candidates Tracy Spurrier and Darren Joblonkay, made significant inroads in understanding the complex archaeological history of this important Bronze and Iron Age site. (Photo © Murat Akar)

Kerkenes Dağ Project

Dominique Langis-Barsetti, 2nd year doctoral student, worked as a geophysicist on the Kerkenes Dağ Project, exploring a Late Middle Iron Age settlement in central Anatolia (Yozgat Province Turkey). This season’s work advanced the long term goal to understand the urban and regional dynamics of a single period city in the absence of any written records, while testing new technologies and methods of digital recording. (Photo © Yasemin Aydoğdu)

Katja Goebs' lecture

Katja Goebs, Associate Professor of Egyptology, presented a lecture entitled, “Myth and its Role in Egyptian Cultural Memory”, at the XI. International Congress of Egyptologists held in Florence (Italy) in August 2015. (Photo: Opening Ceremony of the Congress, Photo © Silvia Zago)

Dr. Stephen Batiuk

Dr. Stephen Batiuk’s (NMC Research Associate) research on the origins of wine production was featured in the September issue of The Varsity. Dr. Batiuk reviewed how he became interested in the development and spread of viticulture in the ancient Near East, and he also shared some of the exciting news from his excavation project at Gadarichili Gora in southeastern Georgia. Read the full story here: The Varsity

Rob Martin, NMC PhD candidate, participated in the 21st Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists (EAA) held in Glasgow (Scotland) on September 2-5, 2015, where he presented his paper, entitled, “The Development of Canaanite and Phoenician Style Maritime Transport Containers (MTCs) and Their Role in Reconstructing Maritime Exchange Networks”.

Awards for Excellence

Mari-Masha Yossiffon, Doctoral Student in Rabbinic Law and Women’s Rights, was awarded the Ontario Trillium Scholarship. John Good was awarded the Connaught International Scholarship to conduct doctoral research on Sassanian Zoroastrianism. Undergraduate student Mehreen Zahra Jiwan (Study of Religion and Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations) received the Jackman Humanities Institute Undergraduate Fellowship for her studies on Karbalaa Shrines. We congratulate our students and wish them success in pursuing their studies.

Upcoming Events

October 17th, 7:30 PM (Auditorium 108, Koffler House, 569 Spadina Avenue). The Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities (SSEA) - Toronto Chapter lecture “Ancestors and liturgy in the temple of Karnak: some new perspectives” by Prof. Dr. Nicolas Grimal (Collège de France).

November 6th-8th (Earth Sciences Building, 5 Bancroft Avenue). The Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities (SSEA) 41st Annual Scholars’ Colloquium and Symposium - EGYPT'S THREATENED TREASURES: Plunder and Restoration, Past & Present.