Sometime between 26 and 30 December, instead of regular American Culture class, students will participate in a 30- to 45-minute Group Oral Exam, during which students will answer questions about a film which your group has selected from Table 2 (below). Before the actual Oral Exam, there are several tasks to complete.

This document gives details on how to prepare for the Oral Exam. To begin, look at Table 1 for a list of tasks and the deadline for each task:

1. Choose Group and Film Before 15.00, Wednesday, 30 November
2. Complete Planning Outline Before 12.30, Tuesday, 6 December
3. Erin Updates Table 3 On or before Friday, 9 December
4. Prepare, inc. Oral Exam Outline and List of Sources Up to 2 hours before time of first Oral Exam on your day
5. Group Office Visit
  • Schedule visit: Before 12.30 on Wednesday, 21 December
  • Do visit: Before 16.30, Friday, 23 December
7. Give Oral Exam Outline and List of Sources At least 2 hours before the first Oral Exam on your day
8. Do Oral Exam Sometime between 26 and 30 December
(specific times announced later, based on students' and Erin's schedules)


  1. Choose Group and Film: Give Erin names of 3-4 students and film title, which can be chosen from TABLE 2 -- each student must individually confirm his or her group and film selection, on time

1 Address (The) 2014 Gettysburg Address; Learning Disabilities Ken Burns
2 Brooklyn Bridge 1981 American Dream; Historical Reference Ken Burns
3 Central Park Five (The) 2013 Racial Profiling Ken Burns, David McMahon and Sarah Burns
4 Congress 1989 US Legislative Branch Ken Burns
5 Empire of the Air 1991 The Men Who Made Radio Ken Burns
6 Horatio's Drive 2003 America's 1st Road Trip Ken Burns
7 Huey Long 1985 Political Demagog Ken Burns
8 Jazz: Episodes 1 and 2 2000 Jazz History: 19th Century to 1924 Ken Burns
9 Jazz: Episodes 3 and 4 2000 Jazz History: 1924 to 1934 Ken Burns
10 Jazz: Episodes 5 and 6 2000 Jazz History: 1935 to 1939 Ken Burns
11 Jazz: Episodes 7 and 8 2000 Jazz History: 1940 to 1945 Ken Burns
12 Jazz: Episodes 9 and 10 2000 Jazz History: 1945 to 1955 Ken Burns
13 Jazz: Episodes 11 and 12 2000 Jazz History: 1956 to 2000 Ken Burns
14 Mark Twain 2002 First Author of American Culture Ken Burns
15 Not for Ourselves Alone 1999 Suffragists Cady Stanton and Anthony Ken Burns
16 Shakers (The) 1984 Religious Movement began in 1840s Ken Burns
17 Statue of Liberty (The) 1985 American Dream and History Ken Burns
18 Thomas Hart Benton 1988 American Artist Ken Burns
19 Unforgivable Blackness 2005 Boxing, Racism, and Jack Johnson Ken Burns

  1. Complete Planning Outline

  2. Erin Updates Table 3: with group names, film title, and date & time of actual Oral Exam

(about 45 minutes per Group)
1 Elif Durmaz, Pınar Özgen, Selin Öztürk, Simge Kıroğulları Address (The) Tuesday, 27 December
2 Destina Leylabi, İpek Kökeş, Özge Tutar, Seray Durmuş Central Park Five (The) Tuesday, 27 December
3 Berkan Kirmit, Hakan Alkan, Kerem Levent Aytac Congress Tuesday, 27 December
4 Mustafa Cem Çakır, Nida Özazman, Sedef Glover, Umut Tan Empire of the Air Wednesday, 28 December
5 Ladin Çakmakçı, Muhammed Mert İlyas, Nevgül Şentürk, Umut Can Yüce Horatio's Drive Thursday, 29 December
6 Ezgi Sena Gürbüz, Güneşnaz Kuru, Meltem Alkur Mark Twain Thursday, 29 December
7 Günce Ünal, Mehmet Gören, Naz Deniz Atik Not for Ourselves Alone Wednesday, 28 December
8 Alp Ruşen Kılıç, Alpay Aşan, Çağdaş Demir Shakers (The) Thursday, 29 December
9 Beyza Başer, Dilara Aslan, Elif Görkem Arslantürk, Pelin Türkmen Statue of Liberty (The) Wednesday, 28 December
10 Cemre Güneş Keçeci, Elif Günce Gülseçgin, Ezgi Uğur, İlayda Özveren Unforgivable Blackness Tuesday, 27 December
11 Büşra Zurnacı, Caner Fikri Ercan, Melike Gücer, Ozan Güner Huey Long Wednesday, 28 December
12 Işık Erdoğan, Melek Sude Can, Zeynep Özdemir Jazz 1 & 2 Wednesday, 28 December
13 Dilara Keçeli, Eren Yangın, İlayda Güngör Brooklyn Bridge Thursday, 29 December

  1. Prepare for Oral Exam

    • Look at and understand all questions. Watch film a few times in order to answer the questions.

    • Prepare summary: At the beginning of the Oral Exam, one or several of you gives a two-minute summary of the story in the film.

    • Questions:
      • For all films:
        1. Which amendment in the Bill of Rights do you think is the most important for your film?
        2. Why are each of the other 9 Amendments in the Bill of Rights less important for your film? (NOTE: State clearly why each amendment is less important. Your answer to this question will be given by 2 or 3 students.)
        3. How does race play a part in your film?
        4. How do gender issues play a part in your film?
        5. How do class issues play a part in your film?
        6. What is one other interesting question for your particular film? (NOTE: Students will go over question and answer with Erin in the Group Office Visit.)
      • For individual films:
        1. Address (The)
          1. What are 3 or more of the disabilities discussed in your film?
          2. What are two things about The Gettysburg Address that are important in today's culture?
          3. How does the division in the time of Lincoln compare to that in the US these days?
        2. Brooklyn Bridge
          1. Why was the Brooklyn Bridge extraordinary when it was built? Why is it still considered to be extraordinary?
          2. How were both John Roebling and Washington Roebling important in the design of the Brooklyn Bridge?
          3. How were politics important in the building of the Brooklyn Bridge?
        3. Central Park Five (The)
          1. How is your film important for US President-elect Trump?
          2. How could skepticism have helped in finding the real rapist?
          3. What are two or more examples in your film showing how the legal system was pitted against the 5 teenagers?
        4. Congress (The)
          1. From your film, what is one example of when the balance of power was stronger in the Legislative Branch than in that of the Executive?
          2. What is one example of an important compromise that has been secured done by Congress, in the past?
          3. How and when were "The Bosses" important in Congress?
        5. Empire of the Air
          1. Of the three "emperors of the air", whom does your group find the most interesting, and why?
          2. What were one or more dubious circumstances important in the business of radio?
          3. What are one or more examples of escapism with radio?
        6. Horatio's Drive
          1. How was the building of early automobiles similar to that of early computers?
          2. What were two or more early laws that we would find funny today, regarding automobiles?
          3. How does Horatio's drive across America epitomize the "American Dream"?
        7. Huey Long
          1. How is Long similar to Donald Trump? How is he different?
          2. What are two or more examples of good things Long did?
          3. What are two or more examples of bad things Long did?
        8. Jazz 1 and 2: 19th Century to 1924
          1. In the 19th century, how was New Orleans "freer" for African-Americans than other parts of the US?
          2. How did music evolve into jazz?
          3. Compare and contrast Armstrong and Ellington.
        9. Jazz 3 and 4: 1924 to 1934
          1. What did Marsalis mean when he said, "To accept jazz, you had to accept the humanity of the Negro"?
          2. How did Prohibition influence jazz?
          3. Compare and contrast a black jazz player with a white jazz player, both of whom were discussed in your film.
        10. Jazz 5 and 6: 1935 to 1939
          1. How did views differ, positively and negatively, regarding swing?
          2. What were one or more examples of how jazz slowly desegregated during this time period?
          3. Why is it surprising that Holiday became such a great jazz singer?
        11. Jazz 7 and 8: 1940 to 1945
          1. How did "bebop" differ from swing?
          2. Compare and contrast Gillespie and Parker.
          3. What are one or more examples of deep segregation, represented in this film?
        12. Jazz 9 and 10: 1945 to 1955
          1. What are one or more examples of a jazz player being "behind the times" during this time period?
          2. How did narcotics influence jazz?
          3. How did the Civil Rights movement influence jazz?
        13. Jazz 11 and 12: 1956 to 2000
          1. What is the "free" music of this period?
          2. How did jazz decline in the 1960s? What was "a last gasp" for jazz?
          3. How could you criticize these two episodes of Jazz?
        14. Mark Twain
          1. What are one or more examples of Twain's humor?
          2. How did Twain's view on slavery evolve?
          3. What are one or more examples of how Twain squandered money?
        15. Not for Ourselves Alone
          1. What are two or more ways that Cady Stanton and Anthony are different from one another?
          2. Who are two women who influenced Cady Stanton and/or Anthony? How?
          3. What were two or more rights for women that Cady Stanton and Anthony achieved before their deaths?
        16. Shakers
          1. How do Shakers identify freedom?
          2. What is one aspect that you admire about Shakers? What is one aspect that you do not admire about Shakers?
          3. What is one other example of a Utopian experiment in the 1800s?
        17. Statue of Liberty (The)
          1. What are two contrasting views of Liberty, presented in your film?
          2. How did the Statue of Liberty become a symbol for welcoming immigrants?
          3. What is ironic about the Statue of Liberty being one of the greatest symbols of American culture?
        18. Thomas Hart Benton
          1. What is your favorite piece of art by Benton, and why?
          2. What do you dislike about Benton and/or his art?
          3. How did Benton both become shaped by and reject radicalism?
        19. Unforgivable Blackness
          1. How were African Americans both free and enslaved when Johnson was born?
          2. What is one aspect of Johnson's character that you admire? What is one aspect that you do not admire?
          3. What is meant in US history by "The Great White Hope"?

  2. Prepare Oral Exam Outline and List of Sources: During the actual Oral Exam, you may refer to the Oral Exam Outline for help. Your answers in the Oral Exam Outline may not have complete sentences. All students in your group must use the same Oral Exam Outline. For the List of Sources, you must have at least three English-language resources. Acceptable forms include: credible movie review sources; unacceptable forms include: Wikipedia (or anything like it) and (or anything like it).

  3. Group Office Visit: At least once, at a time agreed upon by the group and Erin, all in your group must participate together in an office visit, to go over all of the questions -- this will take at least 30 minutes.

  4. Give Oral Exam Outline and List of Sources: At least 2 hours before the first Oral Exam on your day.

  5. Do Oral Exam:
    • Place of Oral Exams: LC-104
    • If a student chooses not to show up for the Oral Exam, s/he receives no credit for the entire Oral Exam
    • If Bilkent cancels classes during the Oral Exams days, schedule a new time for your Oral Exam before leaving campus that day


Out of 100 total points for American Culture, you can receive a maximum of 35 points for your Group Oral Exam. Table 4 shows the complete grading information:

Group and Film Selection 1
Planning Outline 3
Group Office Visit 5
Oral Exam Outline and List of Sources 4
Summary (on day of Oral Exam) 2
Questions (on day of Oral Exam) 20