Monday, January 12, 2009

Ottoman Empire Syllabus

For those interested in an Ottoman course...

HIST 255: The Ottoman Empire, 1300-1924
109 Alumni Hall, 1:20 TR
Dr. Brian Ulrich

Office: 309 Alumni Hall, Ex. 7556 (Office Hours: 1-4 p.m. Wednesday or by appointment)

Required Texts:

Osman’s Dream: The History of the Ottoman Empire, Caroline Finkel
The Ottoman Empire, 1300-1650: The Structure of Power, Colin Imber
My Name is Red, Orhan Pamuk

Reserve Texts with Required Readings:

The Ottoman Empire, ed. Halil Berktay and Bogdan Mergescu (primary source workbook on Blackboard)
Conversion to Islam in the Balkans, Anton Minkov
Electronic reserves found on Blackboard

The Ottoman Empire was the last great agrarian empire to arise in the Middle East. In the 19th and 20th centuries, it disintegrated into modern nation-states, all of which rejected its dominant ideology and today remember it as oppressive. In this course, we will study the history of the Ottoman Empire, which is deeply entwined with that of both Europe and the Middle East. In addition, we will work to understand the Ottoman Empire as an example of a Middle Eastern agrarian empire, one of the most important political formations in the premodern world, and the circumstances which led to its disintegration into the nation-states which are such an important aspect of the modern world. In addition, we will come to see the role of different beliefs and worldviews in forming different historical narratives, and thus how history itself is a construction of present interests.

Our core text for this class will be Caroline Finkel’s highly readable narrative history Osman’s Dream. This will be supplemented by Colin Imber’s The Ottoman Empire, which examines the empire’s society and institutions during what is usually considered its height. We also have a primary source anthology found on Blackboard under “Course Documents.” In addition to two exams, students will complete as an experimental assignment an essay on the uses of different aspects of Ottoman history in Orhan Pamuk’s My Name Is Red, a murder mystery/romance/meditation on art history by a leading contemporary Turkish writer. At the end of the semester, you will also write a 7-page essay on the importance of Ottoman history for the present. There will also be occasional very short response papers and quizzes which will be collected occasionally but randomly as a means of stimulating discussion, ensuring reading comprehension, and making sure that those who do the readings as required are suitably rewarded in final grades.

Useful terms:

Primary sources – The original materials historians use to reconstruct the past
Secondary sources – The accounts modern historians write based on primary sources
Historiography – The study of secondary sources

Small Assignments and Quizzes: 20%
Participation: 15%
Pamuk Essay: 10%
Final Essay: 15%
Mid-Term Exam: 20%
Final Exam: 20%

Academic dishonesty will not be tolerated and handled according to Colgate procedures. Any text in an assignment taken from another source must be noted with quotation marks and the original source indicated. On some assignments, all information, regardless of whether exact words are used, must be cited via footnotes. Furthermore, due to the importance of participation and handing in assignments in a timely manner, misrepresentation of the reasons for an absence or late assignment will be considered a case of academic dishonesty.

If you feel you may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability, you should contact me privately to discuss your specific needs. If you have not already done so, please contact Lynn Waldman at the Office of Academic Support and Disability Services in the Center for Learning, Teaching, and Research. Ms. Waldman is responsible for determining reasonable and appropriate accommodations for students with disabilities on a case-by-case basis, and more generally, for ensuring that members of the community with disabilities have access to Colgate’s programs and services. She also assists students in identifying and managing the factors that may interfere with learning and in developing strategies to enhance learning. Her services are available free of charge to all students.

Schedule of Readings and Major Assignments

January 20 – Finkel, Chapter 1; Imber, pp. 1-27
January 22 – Cemal Kafadar, Between Two Worlds: The Construction of the Ottoman State, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995), pp. 29-59; Heath W. Lowry, The Nature of the Early Ottoman State, (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2003), pp. 5-13.

January 27 – Noel Malcolm, Kosovo: A Short History, (New York: New York University Press, 1998), pp. 58-80; Primary sources I-3 to I-9, “Marko and the Turks”
January 29 – Finkel, Chapter 2; Primary sources II-1 to II-3

February 3 – Finkel, Chapter 3; Imber, pp. 27-44, Primary sources I-12, I-13, III-5
February 5 – Finkel, Chapter 4; Primary source III-1, v11, v12

February 10 – Finkel, Chapter 5; Imber, pp. 44-66
February 12 – Finkel, Chapter 6

February 17 – Imber, Chapter 2
February 19 – Imber, Chapters 3-4; Primary sources I-11, II-5 - II-7, v8

February 24 – Imber, Chapter 5; Johann Strauss, “Ottoman Rule Experienced and Remembered: Remarks on Some Local Greek Chronicles of the Tourkokratia,” The Ottomans and the Balkans: A Discussion of Historiography, ed. Fikret Adanir and Suraiya Faroqhi, (Leiden: Brill, 2002), pp. 193-208, Primary source II-8, II–11, v10
February 26 – Imber, Chapter 6, Primary sources II-12 – II-17

March 3 - Midterm
March 5 – Finkel, Chapter 7, Primary source II-4

March 10 – Baki Tezcan, “Search for Osman: A Reassessment of the Deposition of the Ottoman Sultan Osman II (1618-1622), (Ph.D. dissertation, Princeton University, 2001), pp. 1-26; Ralph S. Hattox, Coffee and Coffeehouses: The Origins of a Social Beverage in the Medieval Near East, (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1985), pp. 112-30, Primary source IV-13
March 12 – Leslie P. Peirce, The Imperial Harem: Women and Sovereignty in the Ottoman Empire, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993), pp. 113-49; Primary source IV-33, “Lady Mary Wortley Montagu: Dining With the Sultana, 1718”


March 24 – Finkel, Chapter 8, Primary source III-4
March 26 – Pamuk, My Name is Red (entire book)

March 31 – Finkel, Chapter 9, Primary sources III-12, IV-9
April 2 – Finkel, Chapter 10, Pamuk essay due

April 7 – Anton Minkov, Conversion to Islam in the Balkans, Chapter III (hard copy reserve), Primary sources I-15 – I-18
April 9 – Finkel, Chapter 11

April 14 – Finkel, Chapter 12, Primary sources II-21, II-22
April 16 – Jane Hathaway, The Arab Lands under Ottoman Rule, (London: Pearson, 2008), pp. 228-48.

April 21 – Finkel, Chapter 13, Primary sources IV-15, IV-16
April 23 – Finkel, Chapter 14, Muhammad Ali Appointment Firman

April 28 – Finkel, Chapter 15
April 30 – Finkel, Chapter 16, Final Essay Due

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