Sources and Methods for 17th and 18th century Ottoman History (HIST 572)

2021 Spring
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Tülay Artan,
Doctoral, Master
Formal lecture,Interactive lecture
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This is one of a series of term-courses reviewing sources relevant for the study of Ottoman and Turkish history in different periods, as well as methods that have been developed and employed by historians on the basis of different types of sources. Specifically for the 17th and 18th centuries, HIST 572 starts out with a review of the decline paradigm, which among other things portrays the Ottoman Empire as a stagnant, peripheral and passive spectator in Early Modernity, and which has been persuasively challenged since the 1970s. Building upon research based on the central Ottoman archives over the last three decades, and using the state as the key unit of analysis, the first part of this course takes an in-depth look at people and ideas in the Ottoman territories over 1600-1800, via (1) the changing political economy, (2) the transformation of agrarian relations, (3) the problems of provisioning Istanbul, (4) struggles between the reforming and conservative wings of the ruling elite, and (5) the "women's sultanate", so-called, and the changing legitimation patterns of the House of Osman. A second part deals with (6) economic, social and cultural life in the provinces, and (7) the growth of international trading cities such as Thessaloniki, Izmir or Aleppo. In concluding, historiographical attention is devoted to the clichés or tropes of (8) the "Tulip Age", (9) "Oriental despotism", and (10) "incorporation into the world- system".


Refer to the course content


Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:
1. identify the major debates and historians of the 17th-18th century Ottoman historiography.
2. describe the major events, persons and ideas that shaped the period and how these events fit into the course of Ottoman history.
3. develop skills to analyze primary sources (in translation).
4. On Ottoman men/women and Ideas
5. comprehend a more nuanced understanding of the historical context of the pre-modern Ottoman empire.
6. analyze the interrelated forces of economy, society and culture.
7. develop a broader historical context to better understand reform and resistence.
8. develop independent and group study skills
9. evaluate historical material to produce, to a deadline, a coherent and cogent argument, developed through the mode of assessment


  Percentage (%)
Final 25
Midterm 30
Written Report 25
Presentation 20