Senior Project

Students in the American Culture and Literature program complete a semester-long project during their senior year. The capstone project is one of the most rigorous and interesting parts of the AMER curriculum, allowing students to bring their undergraduate coursework into focus and produce substantial, research-driven scholarship.

As a self-directed, independently developed research assignment, the senior project serves as the culmination of each student’s academic experience in American Culture and Literature at Bilkent. Projects can build on work done in any AMER course and can take the form of a traditional academic research paper or a creative project.

Students working on their senior projects receive guidance from faculty in the senior project course (AMER 406) and from their advisor, who will serve as a personal mentor throughout the process.

For this option, students will choose a research topic/text related to American Studies and write a 15 to 20-page paper investigating it. Papers should demonstrate rigorous engagement with the chosen topic, linking it to larger cultural and historical issues and incorporating relevant secondary sources as support. The final research paper may be used as a writing sample for students planning to apply to graduate school.

Past projects include:

  • A critique of neoliberalism using the theories of John Dewey
  • A comparative study of minority independent cinema in Turkey and the United States
  • A study of Turkmen people in Turkey and the United States
  • A comparative look at consumerism in the United States and Turkey
  • A post-colonial literary critique of William Faulkner’s A Light in August

This option invites students to translate a research topic in American Studies into a creative format, such as a short story, screenplay, play script, film/video, live performance, or digital platform. These projects should demonstrate originality in conception and execution, serious and complex engagement with substantial topics, and skill in the use of literary devices (such as narrative structure, characterization, dialogue, and figurative language), performance devices (such as plot structure, character, language, sound/music, spectacle), and/or editing techniques (such as cross-cutting, montage, composition, mise en scène).

Past projects include:

  • A short work of fiction examining race relations in the United States
  • A video game transposing poetry into a digital environment
  • A theatrical staging of God of Carnage
  • A short film examining the influence of US popular culture on a group of young Turkish students
  • A screenplay exploring a specific moment in US history (1965) through a fictionalized conversation among poets and writers of the period