Yan Overfield Shaw

FAE InstructorFE / VTS / FMPA Unityan.overfield@bilkent.edu.tr
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Should You Be Angry?

This course will encourage you to think critically about what anger is, what makes you angry personally, and what the effects of anger are. We will also consider how and why groups and institutions attempt to represent, repress, provoke, channel, and control this disruptive emotion. In the weekly readings, you will encounter a range of philosophical, psychological, biological, sociological, cultural, and political perspectives on anger. You will then be encouraged to apply these insights to problems ranging from everyday questions of personal behaviour to the power dynamics of family relationships, from the relationship between anger and aggression to apparent differences in men and women’s anger, and from incitement and "hate speech" to peaceful protest and political violence.

In Equality?

Notions of in/equality raise some of the most urgent questions our societies face: Are all of us equal in rights and potential, as the Enlightenment proclaimed? Or, as George Orwell put it in his satire of totalitarianism, are some of us “more equal than others”? Are the unequal distributions of goods and resources we see around us the just rewards of greater ability and effort, or the unfair outcomes of structural imbalances of power? Can we guarantee fair access to opportunities or outcomes, and should we even try? How do we represent or treat those we understand as equals or non-equals? And how do human nature and technology interact to produce a more or less equal world? The essay project in this course will explore some key egalitarian positions, drawing for examples on recent work in evolutionary psychology, philosophy, economics, geography, and computer science. The independent research project allows you to research and write about the causes, consequences, and ethics of an in/equality which interests you.


This course is designed for engineering students and aims to develop technical and professional communication skills. Students will be expected to become competent in the process of writing technical reports (proposals), developing projects and presenting these tasks. The tasks performed, as part of the course will mirror the tasks students will be expected to do in their faculty courses and prospective professional lives.

My theme for the course is sustainability, as broadly defined by the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, and I encourage students to develop proposals for projects that would help the campus or the city meet any of the goals, not only for clean energy, clean water, greener infrastructure, reduced waste and pollution, and industrial innovation, but also seeking to engineer out poverty, hunger, exclusion, and inequalities. Engagement with the goals will prepare students for compliance work in the public sector and private enterprise.

Introduction to Creative Writing

(by Byrne Brewerton) ENG 312 introduces undergraduate students to short fiction from a writer’s point of view. The course has three main objectives: 1. Learning to read stories as writers read stories; 2. Exploring and developing a personal, creative process; and 3. Writing a short, well-crafted piece of prose fiction. Students learn that the first job of creative writers is to notice, to look closely at the world and its inhabitants. Through class readings and discussions, they look at the elements of fiction — character, plot structure, point of view, setting, description, and dialogue — in short short-stories written by masters of the craft; and through exercises and feedback, they engage in a process in which they write a classically structured, short short-story of their own.

"The master is he who encloses an intelligence in the arbitrary circle from which it can only break out by becoming necessary to itself. To emancipate an ignorant person, one must be, and one need only be, emancipated oneself, that is to say, conscious of the true power of the human mind. The ignorant person will learn by himself what the master doesn’t know if the master believes he can and obliges him to realize his capacity" — Jacques Rancière

"The university is a clear-cut fulcrum with which to move the world. More potently than by any other means, change the university and you change the world" — Charles Malik

Yan holds a Masters Degree in Post-1900 Literatures, Theories and Cultures from the University of Manchester, and postgraduate qualifications in English language teaching, including a Cambridge CELTA, and the FAE program TEAP certificate, and is a Delta candidate, having completed Modules 1 and 2. At Bilkent, as well as the courses above, he has taught courses in the preparatory program and PHIL 243/244. He has published some articles of literary criticism with a focus on Turkish literature, and has worked as an academic manuscript editor, including for New Perspectives on Turkey and the EU-LISTCO project. He is a member of Bilkent's educational technology group, BETS.