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The Academy and the State: Situating Land Economics and Development Planning in the Cold War Middle East

Burak Erdim, North Carolina State University, Mellon Fellow 2016–2017, Fall

My research traces the operations of transnational planning cultures during the postwar period with a focus on the establishment of the Middle East Technical University (METU) in Ankara, Turkey, in 1956. METU stands out among its contemporaries as the product of a full range of agents and agencies working during this period. Charles Abrams, a New York labor lawyer and later a United Nations housing policy expert; Jacob L. Crane, head of the National Housing Agency and later Constantin Doxiadis’s close collaborator; and G. Holmes Perkins, dean of the School of Fine Arts at the University of Pennsylvania and a central player in state and city planning offices in Philadelphia, are among those who contributed most directly to the school’s conceptualization. The multiple positions they held between public, private, and educational institutions reveal the complex structure of these networks; my manuscript addresses what these professionals were trying to do with the planning of METU. My work examines the conceptualization of METU as an educational institution as well as the planning, construction, and forestation of its campus, providing new insights into the role of the Academy in these contested territories of the Cold War in the Middle East.