The End of Empire in the Middle East and the Balkans I

Key information

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Module code
FHEQ Level
Department of History

Module overview

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. It focuses roughly on the two centuries that preceded the era commonly known as “the decline,” during which the Ottoman state and society, like their European counterparts, underwent profound structural changes, before the Ottoman Empire emerged as a modern polity in the second half of the nineteenth century. The course explores this period of critical importance not only through a chronological narrative of political and military developments and events, but also through analyses of long cycles of social change and themes dominant in each of these cycles: challenges to the absolutist order, shifting notions of sovereign power, emergence of bourgeoisie and the reorganization of public space, liberalism and violence, and new perceptions of time and space. Organized both thematically and chronologically, weekly reading assignments aim to deal with the historical and historiographical issues on the Ottoman Empire, 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 history of the post-classical age Ottoman Empire
  2. Familiarity with dominant themes, issues, and processes that preceded the modern era Ottoman world
  3. Familiarity with different topical and theoretical approaches to the study of Ottoman 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 early modern and modern era Ottoman Empire.

Scope and syllabus

1. Introduction and course overview
2. Locating the End in Empire: Periodization and Legacies of the Ottoman Past
3. Challenges to the Absolutist Order
4. Imperial Ecologies & Economies
5. Bourgeois Anxieties
6. Centre, Periphery and Competing Sovereignties in the Ottoman Empire
7. Bureaucratic Rule and Secularizing State
8. The Spirit of the Constitution
9. Law & Imperial Citizenship
10. Culture(s) of Sectarianism and Violence

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