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ANNA FORRESTER, Turkey, 2017-2018

Fulbright Year: 2017-2018
Country: Turkey
Proposal Type: Research
Field of Study: English Literature
Title: “Türkiye’de Shakespeare, Shakespeare in Turkey”
UGA Degree Program: English, PhD
Hometown: Kingsport, Tennessee

Late last spring, Anna Forrester was preparing to travel to Niğde, Turkey, in the central Anatolia region of the country, to spend her Fulbright year teaching English to students at Niğde University.

But in July 2016, Anna’s plans were thwarted due to an unsuccessful coup attempt that resulted in the deaths of hundreds, injuries to thousands, the destruction of many government facilities, and the suspension of the Fulbright program in Turkey.

A year has passed, and she now has the opportunity to make the sojourn to Turkey, where she’ll create the first chronology of Shakespearean performances in the country, exploring the extent to which those works have shaped Turkey’s national dramatic identity.

“I am incredibly excited by the array of opportunities that being in Turkey will afford—like cultural immersion and ambassadorship, language acquisition, and new relationships, not to mention the ability to study something I love in a place that I know I will love even more,” said Anna, who plans to receive her Ph.D. in English literature from UGA in 2019.

Anna will live in Istanbul but will likely travel throughout Turkey as she studies Shakespeare performances and translations, recording commonalities and disparities as well as likely historical influences in the Bard’s considerable canon. She will also seek to view university productions to study the way students perceive and receive Shakespeare’s works.

And while the attempted coup of July 2016 kept Anna from traveling to Turkey, that same action is expected to play a key role in informing her research.

“I am especially interested in investigating how these plays have been altered, staged, and received after the vice president of Turkish Theatres announced, in the aftermath of the coup attempt, that the upcoming theatrical season would place a ban on foreign plays, including Shakespeare,” Anna said. “The ban was later reduced because of backlash, which, of course, speaks to the significance of these works.”

Anna earned undergraduate degrees in English and history in 2014 from the University of Tennessee. While at UGA, she has served as co-organizer of the 400th “Death-iversary” Shakespeare Film Series, has been on the coordinating committee for the Global Shakespeare and Appropriation Conference, and served as an editorial volunteer for the Journal of Shakespeare and Appropriation.

While enthusiastic about her research, Anna is just as excited to be traveling to a country that a year ago was out of her reach.

“It is a curious sentiment to feel so attached to a place I have never been,” she said. “It is akin to a kind of appetency that pulls from the mind and heart, speculates without a point of reference, and finds small satisfaction through intellectual pursuits. But learning and imaging from a distance have their shortcomings, and it will only be through immersion in Turkey that my personal and academic endeavors will be realized.”

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