95804 - The Ottoman Empire in the Eurasian Context (1) (Lm)

Academic Year 2023/2024

  • Docente: Cigdem Oguz
  • Credits: 6
  • SSD: L-OR/10
  • Language: English
  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Second cycle degree programme (LM) in History and Oriental Studies (cod. 8845)

    Also valid for Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Religions Histories Cultures (cod. 5890)

Learning outcomes

After completing the course students have a detailed historical knowledge of the main cultural, social and political transformations that took place in the Islamic world and in the Middle East from the 13th century to the contemporary era. They have analytical skills and are familiar with the theoretical, methodological and technical tools of the historical-religious disciplines and the social sciences for the study of relations between confessions and religions in the context of the Ottoman Empire, with attention to the socio-political implications of the interaction among groups. They are able to evaluate religious phenomena and dynamics in local and global socio-cultural contexts, to identify socio-cultural matrix of religions, as well as connections, developments, persistences and transformations of religious phenomena in complex societies such as those of the Ottoman Empire and to address and solve issues related to the management of religious pluralism. They apply investigative methodologies to critically engage with primary and secondary sources useful for exploring the significance of the Ottoman Empire for world history. They are able to communicate in written and oral form using the different models and registers of communication of the historical disciplines and to give form, including project design, to the results of research, supporting with complete evidence the information on which they base their conclusions and accounting for the methodologies used. They know how to communicate, edit and publish research results.

Course contents

The program deals with the history of the Ottoman Empire with an emphasis on its geography, frontiers, and relations based on certain units/themes of study. The program follows a semi-cronological approach and a thematic division of topics. These topics are not only chosen to elaborate on watershed moments in the history of the Empire, but also to reflect on the empire’s role in global events.

It is highly recommended to the students not to miss the first week of the program during which a general introduction will be presented by the instructor.


There are two textbooks of the course. One is Marc David Baer, The Ottomans: Khans, Caesars and Caliphs, London: Basic Books, 2021 and the second is Renée Worringer, A Short History of the Ottoman Empire, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2021.

Each student (attending or not attending) has to read these two books.

Attending students will choose a theme among the ones below and prepare a presentation of 15 minutes to be given at the class. The readings for the presentations (these can either be an article or a book chapter and/or a primary source) will be decided together with the instructor.

Theme 1: The Ottomans in Europe, the Europeans in the Ottoman Empire

Theme 2: The Ottoman Empire in the Mediterranean and Indian Ocean

Theme 3: The Middle East, Islam, Law, and the millets

Theme 4: The Ottoman Islamic World

Theme 5: Ottoman architecture

Theme 6: Gender

Theme 7: Urban history

Theme 8: Workers, migration routes and global connections

Theme 9: Muslim/Turkish nationalism

Theme 10: Demographic engineering in the Late Ottoman era

Theme 11: The First World War and its Aftermath

Teaching methods

The lectures will be followed by student presentations and seminar discussions. Students are expected to participate discussions actively by reading the relevant parts of the textbooks before the class.

Assessment methods

Students who attend at least 75% of the lessons are considered to be attending.

Attending students: The assessment is divided into: 30% class presentation, 10% participation to the class discussions, 60% final oral exam.

Every student is required to read the textbooks for the final exam.

At the end of the first week, the students are required to choose their themes for presentations. Depending on the number of the students, the themes and readings will be decided in consultation with the instructor.

Not attending students are required to pass an oral exam based on the textbooks (Baer and Worringer).

The questions aim to verify the student’s skills in making connections between different texts, assessing the main argument of the readings, and critically engaging with the arguments.

The grades (attending and not attending) will be assigned according to these criteria:

Proper language and the ability to critically speak about the readings will lead to a good/excellent final grade

Acceptable language and the ability to resume the readings will lead to a sufficient/fair grade

Insufficient linguistic proficiency and fragmentary knowledge of the readings will lead to a failure in passing the exam.

Teaching tools

Power-points, maps, translated primary sources and online sources will be utilized throughout the course.

Office hours

See the website of Cigdem Oguz


Quality education Gender equality Reduced inequalities Peace, justice and strong institutions

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.