Empire and Reform in the Modern Middle East, 1789-1914
- Module Code:
- FHEQ Level:
- Taught in:
- Term 1
This module examines aspects of Middle Eastern modernity in the 19th and early 20th centuries following the main themes of Empire and Revolution. It covers case studies from the Arab world, Turkey and Iran from the late Ottoman and Qajar periods to the late 1950s. The module follows a comparative and thematic approach in order to discuss the unity and diversity of experiences across the region. It proposes a critical evaluation of different types of imperial enterprises - from the indigenous to the European - as political, social and cultural projects bringing the Middle East and its peoples into the modern world. The theme of revolution is approached in a broad sense, to include political and social upheavals of different type and intensity, but also long-term social and cultural change. Institutional, social and cultural aspects of imperial modernity are considered in order to examine the politics of empire, class and community and to enable students to familiarize with topics and debates that they can explore further in the essay and in the dissertation.
The organisation of the class sessions is both thematic and chronological. After an introduction focussing on current theoretical debates on empire, modernity, revolution and the West from a historical perspective, the first lecture analyse revolutionary movements in the late Ottoman and Qajar Empires under the aegis of constitutionalism. The theme of revolution is then presented in the socio-cultural context of early Republican Turkey as the successor state of the Ottoman Empire. The second part of the course concentrates on case studies from other successor states of the Ottoman Empire and Qajar Iran which came under more or less direct European rule. In Iraq, Syria, Egypt and Palestine the focus is on rural and urban mobilisation as a form of popular and elite resistance engendered by the imposition of different forms of European rule. In contrast, Pahlavi Iran is studied in the context of the development of the oil industry as a new type of imperial enterprise that created new spaces of modern urban living.
- Students enrol via the on-line Module Sign-Up system. Students are advised of the timing of this process via email by the Faculty Office
Objectives and learning outcomes of the module
- gain a solid overview of the main events, developments and trends in the history of the Middle East in the 19th/ early 20th century.
- practice discussing and critically applying broader historical concepts, such as Ideas of modernity, regional definitions of the Middle East, transformation, reform, empire and the nation state.
- obtain confidence in reading advanced secondary texts and critically engaging with a variety of scholarly debates.
- gain practice and confidence in the critical analysis of a wide variety of primary sources, including both official documents as well as text, images and sound from various other genres (e.g. personal narratives, literature, film, music, etc.).
- practice independent research and the discussion, analysis and presentation of their research in writing through a variety of diverse assignments, aimed at building up confidence towards more advanced research and writing in the final stages of their degree.
One hour lecture and one hour seminar for 10 Weeks
Scope and syllabus
- Session 1: General overview: main themes, debates and concepts
- Session 2: Empire in the Middle East: Decline and reform
- Session 3: Reforming empire 1: The Ottoman Empire in the Tanzimat period, 1789- 1876
- Session 4: Reforming empire 2: Reform and resistance in Qajar Iran, 1848- 1905
- Session 5: The other empire: Egypt under Muhammad Ali and his descendants
- Session 6: European Imperialism and “humanitarian interventions”
- Session 7: Empire and its others: Minorities and the “subaltern”
- Session 8: Empire and its discontents: Revolution and opposition
- Session 9: Culture, society and the promises of “progress”
- Session 10: The empire challenged: The rise of nationalisms
Method of assessment
- Methodology Paper of 1,000 words worth 20% of the final mark
- Assignment of 2,500 words worth 80% of the final mark
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