We are more than happy to welcome spring with an exciting online learning program that supports the idea of “university without borders”. In the 2019 Summer Semester, Off-University presents 6 free online courses from different fields in collaboration with Humboldt University of Berlin, Kassel University, LMU Munich, and Technical University Berlin:

  • + Feminist Political Philosophy

  • + Political Economy of the Global South in the Age of Financialisation

  • + Contemporary Turkish Literature

  • + Comparative Political History of Modern Middle East

  • + Urban Theory and the Right to the City

  • + Commons

Online courses are held by academics that have been purged from their institutions, forced to resign, and politically persecuted due to their opinion and research in Turkey.

In collaboration with partner universities, Off-University provides certificate of achievement with ECTS points for those who fulfill the course requirements. Participation in the online courses does not depend on formal academic degrees and is free of tuition. Off-University protects learners and does no collect data of participants.

Off-University hosts the online courses on a platform designed for less hierarchical and more democratic learning. Participants study themselves with the course materials provided on the platform beforehand, and join weekly online discussions with lecturers. A series of short videos recorded and reading materials assigned by the lecturers provide basis for discussion and critical inquiry to the course’s weekly topic for a vivid discussion held on live streamed weekly lectures. The duration of the weekly live streaming and course program varies for each free online course.    

Registration opens on March 12th, 2019.

Off-University 2019 Summer Semester Free Online Courses Program

Feminist Political Philosophy

This course aims to focus on the feminist political thought/philosophy from a historical perspective without capturing a holistic perspective on the field. Rather, a selective reading of certain texts (including from Turkey) will enable us to get familiar with some writers, philosophical texts and certain concepts as useful tools to think of feminist philosophy. A historical approach will enable us to see how these texts form any continuities and/or breaks and how they are related with the context from which they arise. This class is considered as a space to discuss how to make use of certain categories like class and race along with gender and sexuality. We will particularly focus on issues in feminist political philosophy and ethics, including issues relating to sex, gender, sexuality; class; race; feminist ethics; oppression, resistance and justice. The course aims to discuss certain central concepts of feminist political philosophy in relation to yet not limited to global and local socio-political conflicts.

The course will be held in English.

Course begins: Tuesday 9th April, every week

Time: 18.00 – 20.00 (GMT+1)

*** In collaboration with Humboldt University of Berlin

About the lecturer:

İclal Ayşe Küçükyırca received her PhD degree at the SPEL (Social, Political, Ethical and Legal Philosophy) program at Binghamton University, New York in 2011. The title of her dissertation is Homelessness and Homemaking. Her areas of interest are gender/sexuality studies particularly women’s movements, and feminist political philosophy and the construction of the home place in different geographies through different axes. She has worked as a lecturer at the Philosophy department of the Binghamton University and at the History department of the University of Wisconsin, River Falls and as an Assistant Professor at the Philosophy department of Mardin Artuklu University. 

Political Economy of the Global South in the Age of Financialisation

This course aims to provide a comprehensive introduction to the debates on development and political economy of Turkey and the global South in general. It covers central topics such as trajectories of development, competition, financial deepening, financial inclusion and crisis management in the last quarter of the 20th century and the first two decades of the 21st century.

A widely held misconception regarding economic and financial crises in the global South attributes the causes of the crises to the incapacity of policy makers in transforming their economies in line with the demands of investors. Either because of the exclusive institutions or policy fallacies, it is maintained; the South cannot catch up with the advanced countries of the North. This stance ignores the interdependencies not only between the countries, but also the policy dilemmas that the emerging markets confront amidst processes of financialisation and credit-led strategies of economic growth.

The course will rest on an interdisciplinary effort benefiting from comparative political economy, political science and development studies. It will elaborate various case studies to analyze both the day-to-day workings of global finance and the reflection of global financial conjuncture upon major emerging markets. It will help the students grasp major issues and problems confronted by the policy makers of emerging markets in an era of financialisation. While providing a meta-level discussion of development in the last decades, the course will provide a comparative and historical lens to analyze the political economic transformation in the global South.

The course will be held in English.

Course begins: Monday 15th April, every week

Time:  14.00 – 15.00 (GMT+1)

*** In collaboration with Kassel University

About the lecturer:

Ali Rıza Güngen is a political scientist and independent researcher. Dr. Güngen received his Ph.D. from Middle East Technical University and was granted the Young Social Scientist award by the Turkish Social Sciences Association in 2013. Güngen is the co-author of the 2014 book Financialization, Debt Crisis and Collapse (in Turkish) and co-editor of 2019 book The Political Economy of Financial Transformation in Turkey. His articles appeared in journals such as The Journal of Peasant Studies and New Political Economy. His research currently focuses on sovereign debt management across the global South, financial inclusion, and state restructuring in Turkey.


Contemporary Turkish Literature

This course aims at providing a detailed analysis of some of the works of contemporary Turkish writers and their point of view on poetics. Examining their theoretical and fictive works, we will explore and describe how the writers define literariness and construct their works.

This course aims at describing the writers’ point of view drawing on their own words on literature, art and aesthetics. We will have two main sources in our study: the selected artistic works of the writers and their books and interviews on poetics. Some of the writers such as Ferit Edgü and Orhan Pamuk have explicitly expressed their ideas on poetics, art and aesthetics while others have not.  For example, Yaşar Kemal has never said a word about how he used the epic discourse to build his own way of writing. However, reading between the lines, we can detect the epic discourse and its literary applications in his works. We should also note that he used to call himself ‘Homerosoğlu Yaşar’ (The son of Homeros). Studying on the writers’ understanding of poetics, we will have a chance to discover the ways of interpreting and writing a literary text.

The course will be held in Turkish.

Course begins: Thursday 25th April, every week
Time: 11 - 12 am (GMT+1)

*** In collaboration with Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich

About the lecturer:

Zeynep Erk Emeksiz is a linguist specialized in semantics and literary text theories. She completed her dissertation in 2003 at the Department of Linguistics, Ankara University.  She has several works published on nominal and verbal aspects of Turkish grammar. She has given several lectures on poetics and Turkish literature at graduate and undergraduate level at Anadolu University. She worked as an associate professor at the Department of Turkish Language and Literature in Anadolu University untill she was dissmissed by the Decree Law 686 from Anadolu University after the coup attempt for signing the peace petition called‘ We won’t be a part of this crime‘.  She is currently teaching theory of literary texts at Eskişehir Solidarity Academy


Comparative Political History of Modern Middle East

This course by Prof. Yüksel Taşkın, aims to introduce participants to rival theoretical perspectives in critically understanding the past and the present Middle East by providing a comparative historical insight on the general representation of Turkey and the Middle East as an “exception” and an “unfitting geography.”

In this perspective, the course starts with an introduction and critique of orientalism as it is an intellectual component of the Western colonialism in the Middle East. Then, it focuses on the post-World War II setting in the region through a comparative analysis of three countries: Iran, Egypt and Syria. Furthermore, after elaborating the conflicts between the Arab and Israeli, it discusses the general question of democratization in the Middle East through a detailed analysis of the Arab Spring, including its background and outcomes. While the participants are expected to fulfill weekly reading assignments, short documentaries and films will be also screened with the objective of developing participants’ visual understanding of regional reality. 

Participants who successfully complete their studies will receive a certificate of achievement which may be recognized by the universities located in countries part of the Bologna Process.

The course will be held in English.

Course begins: Thursday, 25th April, every week

Time: 10 - 12 am (GMT+1)

*** In collaboration with Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich

About the lecturer:

Prof. Yüksel Taşkın was born in 1972, in Rize, Turkey. He received his BA degree in Political Science and International Relations (Boğaziçi University, Istanbul, 1994). He completed his MA (1995) and doctoral studies (2001) at the same department. He started to teach at Marmara University Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences in 2002 and got his associate professorship in 2009. He was a visiting scholar at New York University Center Near Eastern Studies (1999-2000), at Leiden University International Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World (Falls 2005-2006), and at Northwestern University Buffett Institute for Global Studies (Spring 2011-2012). His research interests are “sociology of politics”, “intellectuals and social movements”, and “society and politics in the Middle East.” A selection of his publications is as following: Anti-Komünizmden Küreselleşme Karşıtlığına: Milliyetçi Muhafazakâr Entelijansiya (İletişim Yayınları, 2007), AKP Devri: Türkiye Siyaseti, İslâmcılık ve Arap Baharı (Birikim Yayınları, 2013),1960’tan Günümüze Türkiye Tarihi (co-writing with Suavi Aydın, İletiiim Yayınları, 2014).

Urban Theory and the Right to the City

This course covers different schools of political urban theory, from Classical urban theory, Urban regime analysis to Marxist Urban Geography, in order to analyse the role of political power and social struggles in urban politics.

In the second half of the course we look into case studies of urbanism across the world, explaining their common political-economic trajectories and power relations. Finally the course takes a more detailed look at Urban Politics in Turkey, and discusses the political dominance of mayors as a part of the authoritarian neoliberal regime in the country. It will conclude with a final lecture on the “City as Commons”.

The course will be held in English. 

Course begin: April 10th, Wednesday every week

Time: 10 -11 am (GMT+1)

*** In collaboration with the Technical University of Berlin

About the lecturers:

Dr. Mehmet Penbecioğlu is a city planner and urban politics scholar. He received his masters and PhD from the Middle East Technical University. He completed his postdoctoral research at TU Delft OTB. He was unlawfully expelled from his latest post at Izmir Institute of Technology. As an independent researcher, he is continuing to give lectures and to carry out research and publications in the fields of urban politics and local governments.

Dr. Ulaş Bayraktar obtained his PhD degree from Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris in political science. He researched and published mainly on urban politics, local democracy and public policies. He was expelled from his public post at the Mersin University for being among the Petitioners for Peace. He is one of the founder-partners of Kültürhane.