[skip to content]

Department of the Languages and Cultures of the Near and Middle East

Turkey:Continuity and Change

Course Code:
Unit value:
Taught in:
Full Year
This course provides students with a critical understanding of the connections between Central Asian, Ottoman and Modern Turkish history, politics and culture; and with the historical background and intellectual tools necessary to comprehend the complexities of state/nation formation and the dynamics of change and continuity in Turkish history, politics and culture.


Acceptance on to one of the host MA programmes

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

At the end of the course students should have acquired a critical approach regarding the analysis of the constituent elements of Turkish and Turkic heritage in different periods and regions.


Two hours of lectures per week

Scope and syllabus

The course is divided into two parts:

  1. The first part focuses on the transition from the Ottoman empire to the Republic of Turkey, examining the key turning points and assessing the relevance of the events of the 1908-38 period for understanding Turkey today. There is also a historical approach to change, focusing on the issue of the "Turkishness" of the Ottoman and earlier empires and their relevance for Modern Turkey. 
  2. The second part of the course deals with the development of Turkey’s political life following the death of Atatürk in 1938 and the emergence of a multi-party parliamentary democracy from 1946. Turkey’s subsequent economic, social and political development is closely examined, taking into consideration the impact of rapid population increase and internal migration on the political processes. The controversies over the involvement of the military in politics and the role of religion in Turkish society are analysed, and there is particular focus on Turkey’s relations with the wider world – in particular with the United States and Nato partners, the European Union, and with Greece, Cyprus and the Middle East.

Method of assessment

Three assessed essays totalling 10,000 words, to be handed in on (a) 15 January (3,000 words), (b) the last day of Term 2 (3,000 words) and (c) the second Friday of Term 3 (4,000 words).

Suggested reading

Part 1:
  • Adanir, Fikret and Faroqhi, Suraiya, eds., 2002. The Ottomans and the Balkans. A discussion of historiography. Leiden: Brill.
  • Aktar, Ayhan, 2003. “Homogenising the nation, turkifying the economy: the Turkish experience of the population exchange reconsidered.” In: Hirschon 2003: 79-96.
  • Birtek Faruk, and Dragonas, Thalia eds., 2005. Citizenship and the Nation-State in Greece and Turkey. London: Routledge.
  • Clark, Bruce, 2006. Twice a stranger. How mass expulsion forged Modern Greece and Turkey. London: Granta.
  • De Bernieres, Louis, 2004. Birds without wings. London
  • Deringil, Selim, 1991. “Legitimacy structures in the Ottoman state: The reign of Abdulhamid II (1876-1909).” IJMES 23:345-359.
  • Deringil, Selim, 1993. “The Ottoman origins of Turkish nationalism, Namik Kemal to Mustafa Kemal.” European History Quarterly 23: 165-191.
  • Ersanli, Büsra, 2002. “The Ottoman empire in the historiography of the Kemalist era: A theory of fatal decline.” In: Adanir & Faroqhi 2002: 115-154.
  • Findley, Carter, 2005. The Turks in world history. Oxford University Press. Ch.1 “The pre-islamic Turks and their precursors.” 21-55. Ch. 2 “Islam and empire from the Seljuks through the Mongols.” 56-92. Ch.3 “Islamic empires from Temür to the ‘Gunpowder era’.” 93-132.
  • Finkel, Caroline, 2005. Osman’s Dream. The Story of the Ottoman Empire 1300-1923. London: John Murray. Ch. 13 “From the ‘New Order’ to the ‘Re-ordering’.” 413-446. Ch. 14 “A crisis of identity.” 447-487. Ch. 15 “The Islamic empire” 488-525. Ch.16 “The storm before the calm.” 526-554.
  • Golden, Peter, 2004. “The Turks: A historical overview.” In: Roxburgh, David, ed., Turks. A journey of a thousand years 600-1600, London: Royal Academy of Arts, pp. 18-31.
  • Hirschon, Renée, ed., 2003. Crossing the Aegean. An appraisal of the 1923 compulsory population exchange between Greece and Turkey. Oxford: Bergahn.
  • Imber, Colin, 2003. The Otoman Empire, 1300-1650: The Structure of Power. European History in Perspective Series. London: Palgrave
  • *Kadioglu, Ayse, 1996. “The paradox of Turkish nationalism and the construction of official identity.” Middle Eatern Studies, 32, 177-194.
  • Kafadar, Cemal, 1994. “The Ottomans and Europe.” In: Brady, Thomas, Heiko Oberman and James Tracy, eds., Handbook of European History 1400-1600. Late Middle Ages, renaissance and reformation, Volume 1: Structures and assertions, Leiden: Brill, pp. 589-635.
  • Kafadar, Cemal, 1995. Between two worlds. The construction of the Ottoman state. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • Kansu, Aykut, 2000. Politics in post-revolutionary Turkey, 1908-1913. Leiden: Brill. Ch.1 “Introduction.” Pp 1-22.
  • Karpat, Kemal, ed., 2000. Ottoman past and today’s Turkey. Leiden: Brill.
  • Kushner, David, 1977. The rise of Turkish nationalism. London: Cass.
  • Lewis, Bernard, 2002. [1961] The emergence of modern Turkey (3rd edn). London: Oxford University Press. Ch. 1. “Introduction: The sources of Turkish civilization” 1-17. Part I “Stages of emergence” 17- 238. Ch.8 “The Kemalist Republic” 239-293. Part II “Aspects of change” 323-479. Ch. 10 ‘Community and nation’ 323-361. Ch.11 ‘State and government’ 362-400. Ch.12 ‘Religion and culture.’ 401-442. Ch.13 ‘Élite and class.’ 443-479. Ch.14 ‘Conclusions:The Turkish revolution.’ 480-487
  • Mango, Andrew, 1999. Atatürk. London: John Murray. Part III: The will of the nation. 185-360. Part IV: Republic and Reforms. 361-456. Part V: Unrivalled Leader. 457-539
  • Mardin, Serif, 2000 [1962]. The genesis of Young Ottoman thought. A study in the modernization of Turkish political ideas. Syracuse University Press. Ch.5: “Turkish political elites in the nineteenth century.” Pp. 107-132. Ch.14 “Conclusion.” Pp. 396-408.
  • Mazower, Mark, 2000. The Balkans. London: Weidenfeld. Introduction: Names. 1-16. Ch.1 “The land and its inhabitants.” 17-44. Ch.2 “Before the nation.” 45-76. Ch.3 “Eastern questions.” 77-103.
  • Quataert, Donald, 2000. The Ottoman empire, 1700-1922. Cambridge University Press.
  • Zürcher, Erik Jan, 1998. Turkey. A Modern History. London. (revised edition)
Part 2: