New bequest for the study of modern Turkey
Photo caption: Louisa Campagna (Suzanne’s niece), Suzanne Campagna, and BU Provost Jean Morrison, April 2012, at the Campagna-Kerven Lecture on Modern Turkey.
It was Suzanne Campagna’s wish that Boston University join the ranks of the small handful of top-tier American universities specializing in the study of modern Turkey.
Now, through a generous bequest, Campagna—who died at age 97 in August of last year—has helped the University take a substantial step in this direction. In April, BU inaugurated the new Campagna-Kerven Fellowship for a doctoral student whose research and dissertation deal primarily with modern (post-Ottoman) Turkey. The gift is named for Campagna’s father, Mehmet Nahid Kerven (one of history’s renowned “Young Turks”) and her late husband, scholar Gerard Campagna (GRS’52), a leading expert on Turkish foreign policy.
The bequest was announced during the 21st annual Campagna-Kerven Lecture on Modern Turkey at the Pardee School, a series begun in 1996 that has helped anchor BU’s growing expertise in modern Turkey.
Augustus Richard Norton, professor of international relations and anthropology at the Pardee School, was Campagna’s friend and colleague, and recently reflected on her generous gift: “Madame Campagna, as she was often addressed, knew there were important centers of American scholarship focused on the Ottoman Empire. But she believed that modern Turkey was not nearly as well covered.” He added that Campagna, who was born in Turkey but schooled in Paris, wanted a focus on the Turkey that emerged at the end of the Ottoman Empire in the early 20th century. She had no ideological stance, Norton said, explaining that she had no intention of promoting a particular vision of Turkey, but rather, to give people the opportunity to learn about the country and its culture. She was a “remarkable intellectual,” he noted, who was actively involved with the League of Women Voters and in promoting improvements in primary education.
The new fellowship, not yet awarded, joins BU’s growing portfolio of Turkish-oriented academic resources, including its Turkish language program—begun in the late 1990s—its anthropological studies of Turkey, and its study-abroad program in Turkey.