• Offered by
  • ANU College
  • Course subject Middle Eastern & Central Asian Studies
  • Areas of interest Arab and Islamic Studies, History, Middle East Studies, Central Asia Studies, Arts
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person

The Ottoman state grew from a principality (c. 1300) into one of the world's greatest powers and lasted for 640 years. As a ghazi state the Ottomans confronted the Byzantines, contributing to their decay. Mehmed II with his conquest of Istanbul put an end to the Byzantine Empire in 1453 and set out to build a new empire on its economic and cultural heritage. At its peak in the sixteenth century the Ottoman Empire spread across three continents. European colonial penetration and the rise of nationalism undermined the vitality of Ottoman state and Empire came to an end after the First World War. The Turks however, reunited and founded a new modern state after the War of Independence. The modern Turkish state is secular and is expecting to become a member of the European Union. Turkey today acts as a bridge between the East and the West. From a geo-strategic perspective it is one of the most important countries in the post-Cold War world.
The emphasis in this course will be on topics that will facilitate an understanding of both the Ottoman Empire and the foundation of the modern Turkish state. Political, military and administrative systems of the Ottomans, as well as continuity and differences between the Ottoman and modern Turkish state will be discussed through introducing interrelated themes.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
  1. Research a range of the major works on the history and culture of the Ottoman state.
  2. Develop and extend their knowledge and understanding of political, military and administrative systems of the Ottoman Empire as well as the forces and principles behind the formation of the modern Turkey.
  3. Critically analyse the historical and political aspects of the campaigns undertaken by the Ottomans.
  4. Research the Ottomans in the wider historical perspective with regard to the most important transformations of the world such as the Industrial Revolution, age of nationalism, discovery of Americas and the new maritime routes to India and China.
  5. Undertake in depth research and analysis to write and present original work related to the study of Turkish history, politics and culture.

Indicative Assessment

Participation (10%) Learning Outcomes 1-5
Essay of 4000 words (50%) Learning Outcomes 1-5
Final Exam of 2 hours or 2500-word essay (40%) Learning Outcomes 1-5

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130 hours of total student learning time made up from:
a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 24 hours of lectures and 12 hours of workshop and workshop-like activities.
b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.

Preliminary Reading

Finkel, C., Osman's Dream: The Story of the Ottoman Empire 1300-1923, London: John Murray, 2006.
Imber, C., The Ottoman Empire, 1300-1650, London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002.
McCarthy, J., The Ottoman Turks, London & New York: Longman, 1997.
Goffman, D., The Ottoman Empire and Early Modern Europe, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002.


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