Politics professor receives Fulbright Scholarship to teach comparative politics in Turkey


Image: Marcie PattonIn light of a lifetime's love affair with the nation of Turkey, it's fitting that Marcie Patton, Ph.D. and professor of politics at Fairfield University, should receive a Fulbright scholarship to teach there.

Dr. Patton, who lives in Bridgeport, is one of only 10 people nationwide chosen to receive a Fulbright to Turkey this year. She is one of approximately 800 U.S. faculty and professionals who will travel abroad to some 140 countries for the 2002-2003 academic year through the Fulbright Scholar Program.

The Program was established in 1946 to build mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries. Recipients of Fulbright Scholar awards are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement and because they have demonstrated extraordinary leadership potential in their fields. Among thousands of prominent Fulbright Scholar alumni are Nobel prize-winning economist Milton Friedman and Intel Corp. Chief Executive Officer Craig Barrett.

Dr. Patton will teach comparative political economy at Bilkent University in the capital city of Ankara.

Turkey is a predominantly Muslim nation in the Middle East that borders Bulgaria, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Armenia and Georgia. Now a candidate for admission into the European Union, Turkey has been and is one of the United State's biggest allies in that region of the world.

Dr. Patton's devoted interest in Turkey began during her first visit there in 1977. Since then she has visited frequently, although the last time she lived there for an extended period was more than twenty years ago, as a graduate student developing a dissertation topic.

It wasn't always fun. Dr. Patton remembers the chilling winter of 1979-1980, when fuel oil shortages deprived her apartment of heat for two months. Dr. Patton and her Turkish flatmate donned hats, long underwear and gloves and curled up to watch episodes of Dallas dubbed in Turkish.

Most recently, Dr. Patton spent last summer teaching two courses in the summer session at Bogazici University in Istanbul. "I regarded this as a kind of pilot project to determine if I would enjoy teaching in Turkey and if I could make any useful contributions," Dr. Patton said in her Fulbright project statement.

The answer on both counts was a resounding yes. Dr. Patton found the students to be bright and energetic with a deep interest in the global issues they studied. In evaluations of their class with Dr. Patton, Turkish students praised her motivated teaching style and sincere presentation of all sides of an issue.

"Professor Patton is known for her bright synthesis of teaching and research. Fulbright recognition and support of her scholarship will allow her to immerse herself fully in a region that is central to her work," said Dr. Timothy Law Snyder, Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, Fairfield University. "Fairfield is proud of Professor Patton and her continuing accomplishments."

The Fulbright will also give Dr. Patton a chance to develop her own research on the political economy of globalization to a greater extent. She plans to expand upon an earlier paper she published, "Open for Business: Capitalists and Globalization in Turkey and Morocco."

As a Muslim nation that has embraced western capitalism, Turkey offers a unique example of democratization. The abrupt transition for an Islamic culture has left both challenges and opportunities for the Turkish people.

"Several faculty members at Bilkent share my interest in the processes of globalization and economic liberalization as experienced in Turkey, and therefore I am eagerly anticipating our engaging in mutually beneficial exchange of ideas and views," Dr. Patton said.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on September 15, 2002

Vol. 35, No. 55