SOAS University of London

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

Turkey: Continuity and Change I (1908-1945)

Module Code:
15PNMH033
Credits:
15
FHEQ Level:
7
Year of study:
Any
Taught in:
Term 1

Did the Turkish Republic ‘emerge’ from the Ottoman empire as the result of nationalism and as a culmination of Turkishness? Did Turkish history start with Attila and end with Atatürk? Modern Turkey was shaped in the tumultuous period 1908-1945. There was everything: the emergence of Turkish nationalism, revolution, a long decade of war, mass murder, the end of empire and attempts at partition, foreign intervention and occupation, compulsory exchange of populations, a proclamation of a Republic, revolts, and above all, radical reforms, modernization and the building of a state-nation. Most of this happened under the rule of one of twentieth century’s most emblematic leaders, Atatürk.

The course focuses on the transition from empire to republic, examining the key turning points and assessing the relevance of the events of the 1908-1945 period for understanding Modern Turkey. Did the Turkish Republic ‘emerge’ from the Ottoman empire as the culmination of Turkishness? What was the role of the “Greek bull in the Ottoman china shop” and the effects of the Armenian genocide and the compulsory exchange of populations with Greece? How did the emblematic Atatürk reforms proceed and how should their success be assessed? What were the effects of the alphabet and language reforms? How did WWII affect Turkey? Developments in the period will be examined with a view to appraising their relevance for contemporary Turkey.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

At the end of the module students will be able to:

  • understand the debates surrounding the the emergence of the modern state of the Republic of Turkey
  • analyse aspects of the Ottoman legacy of Turkey and assess the degree of continuity and change
  • evaluate the significance of the compulsory exchange of populations with Greece 
  • analyse the Atatürk reforms and their relevance at the time 
  • assess the constituent elements of the history and cultural make up of the early Turkish Republic

Workload

This module will be taught over 10 weeks with 2 hours of lecture per week.

Method of assessment

  • 2500-word essay due in Term 2 (100%)
  • The exact assessment deadline dates are published on the relevant module Moodle/BLE page

Disclaimer

Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules