SOAS University of London

Department of History, School of History, Religions & Philosophies

Empire, Law, and Citizenship in the Middle East and the Balkans

Module Code:
FHEQ Level:
Year of study:
Year 1 or Year 2
Taught in:
Term 1
This course examines the history of the end of the Ottoman Empire in the Middle East and the Balkans, with an emphasis on its social, economic and political structures. Focusing primarily on the second half of the nineteenth and early decades of the twentieth centuries, it explores the Ottoman state and society and the world that surrounded them, not only through a chronological narrative of political and military developments and events, but also through analyses of longer cycles of social change and themes dominant in each of these cycles such as displacement and dispossession, emergence of the welfare state, discourses of civilization, or inconsistencies of liberalism. Organized both thematically and chronologically, weekly reading assignments aim to deal with the historical and historiographical issues on the late Ottoman Empire and early Turkish Republic, as well as tackling specific theoretical debates that relate to these issues. Each week’s readings are accompanied by an introductory paragraph and a set of questions posted in advance on the course blog, to help navigate and connect different issues, debates and approaches. The course will also make use of primary source material to expand and support each week’s discussion.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

On successful completion of this module a student will gain:

  1. Factual knowledge of the late Ottoman Empire and early Turkish Republic
  2. Familiarity with dominant themes, issues, and processes that shaped the late Ottoman and early Republican world
  3. Familiarity with different topical and theoretical approaches to the study of the late Ottoman and early Republican history
  4. Ability to analyse the notion of Ottoman legacy
  5. Development of an analytical approach to the relationship between the Ottoman Empire and its successor states

Explain how the learning outcomes fit with the programme(s) for which the module will be available:

This is not a new course but rather the break of the highly successful full-unit “The End of Empire in the Middle East and the Balkans (15PHIC004_L1/01)” course into two half-unit modules following departmental restructuring of the MA programme and modules. In that, it will continue to be the only history course that offers in-depth study of the history of the late Ottoman Empire and early Turkish Republic.

Scope and syllabus

  1. Introduction and course overview
  2. Ideas of “Progress”
  3. Dispossessed Ottomans: Nomads, Migrants, and Refugees
  4. Regulating Vulnerability
  5. Margins of the State
  6. Resistance & Revolution
  7. Constitutional Rule and Limits of Freedom, Equality, and Justice
  8. World War I and the Ottoman Empire
  9. Genocide, Confiscation, and Destruction
  10. Republic and its Discontents

Method of assessment

Book Review of 1,00 words worth 20%, Assignment of 3,000 words worth 80%


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules