SOAS University of London

Department of History

The End of Empire in the Middle East & the Balkans

Module Code:
Unit value:
Year of study:
Year 1 or Year 2

This seminar explores the history of the end of the Ottoman Empire in the Middle East and the Balkans. Three approaches provide the organizational framework:

  • The first third of the class is devoted to providing the chronological overview of Ottoman history necessary to see the last Ottoman century in perspective. 
  • The middle section follows a geographical approach as the focus shifts to examining the way the Balkans, Anatolia, and the Arab lands fared as the empire collapsed. 
  • The last unit explores topics chosen to highlight some of the broader transformations of the period (e.g., Architecture and Everyday Life, The Economy, Education and Law, Religion and Culture, Women and the Family). 

Throughout we attempt to come to terms with the problematic notion of the Ottoman historical legacy.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

After completion of the course students will have obtained:

  • Factual knowledge of the history of the Ottoman Empire
  • Familiarity with the trends in Ottoman historiography
  • Familiarity with various topical approaches to the late Ottoman period
  • Ability to analyse the notion of Ottoman legacy
  • Development of an analytical approach to the relationship between the Ottoman Empire and its successor states.

Method of assessment

Coursework consists of 2 Essays (25% each towards final mark). Written Exam (50% towards final mark).

Suggested reading

Introductory bibliography: 
  • Niyazi Berkes, The Development of Secularism in Turkey (Montreal, 1964); 
  • L. Carl Brown (ed.), Imperial Legacy: The Ottoman Imprint on the Balkans and the Middle East (New York, 1996); 
  • M. Sükrü Hanioglu, The Young Turks in Opposition (Oxford, 1995); 
  • David Kushner, The Rise of Turkish Nationalism, 1876-1908 (London, 1977); 
  • Bernard Lewis, The Emergence of Modern Turkey, 2nd ed. (London, 1968);
  • Justin McCarthy, The Ottoman Turks (London, 1997); 
  • Erik J. Zürcher, Turkey: A Modern History (London, 1998)


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules