01:30 PM to 04:10 PM M
Horizon Hall 2017
Section Information for Spring 2023
Who were the Ottomans that once ruled much of today’s Eastern Europe and the Middle East? European contemporaries mostly called them simply ‘Turks’ but, in their own perception, they were the Rumis (literally, Inhabitants of the Land of Romans). The Ottoman experience cannot be squeezed into a clear civilizational category as it comprises a host of diverse cultures, religions, communities, and institutions. Scholars characterized it in different ways, ranging from Weber’s "Oriental Despotism" to Hodgson’s "Gunpowder Empire." Once considered as only part of the national history of today’s modern Turkey it is now being studied in quest for a range of intriguing questions Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, European, Asian, and African histories. This course treats this complexity of Ottoman history in a survey that examines principal developments and institutions in areas ranging from government to economy and from arts to leisure. Lectures and readings include historical analyses by contemporary historians and primary sources left by the Ottomans themselves. We will examine the Ottoman Empire from its origins in the thirteenth century to the end of the sixteenth century when it was widely thought to have reached its ideals. We will treat the Ottoman experience within the broader context of world history while at the same time highlighting its peculiarities. The dynamics of its expansionism, political and cultural encounters, institutional development, social and economic networks, manifestations of piety, relations across lines of class, religion and gender will be covered. The course will undertake a critical inquiry into the established narratives of Ottoman history through discussing primary sources and theoretical approaches in modern scholarship.
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