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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies

Undergraduate Course: The Ottoman World: the Society, Culture and Legacy of Islam's Last Empire (IMES10101)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course will examine some of the main topics relating to the history, society and culture of the Ottoman Empire, Islam's last and longest-lasting empire. It will cover some of the key concepts and theories relevant to the study of Ottoman history, and provide an introduction to Ottoman sources. Both secondary and a selection of primary sources (in translation) will be read and discussed.
Course description The course will offer a close examination of a selection of key topics and theories relating to the study of the Ottoman Empire, and will enable students to analyse both secondary and primary sources on those subjects.

The topics considered may include but are not limited to the following: structures of power, legitimacy and ideology in Ottoman state formation and expansion, Ottoman society and urban institutions, religious character and dynamics of the Ottoman Empire, including Sunni/Shi'a dichotomy and Sufi orders in the Ottoman context, women in the Ottoman Empire, importance of travel literature for the study of Ottoman history and society, Western European encounters with and perceptions of the Ottoman Empire and the origins of Orientalism.

The course will consist of 2 hour seminars per week. Each week two or three compulsory readings will be assigned, to be read in advance and discussed in class. The students will be expected to give regular formative presentations throughout the course, as well as one summative presentation in the second half of the semester.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. identify the key themes and theories relevant to the study of the Ottoman Empire
  2. assess and utilise primary sources in constructing an argument on Ottoman history
  3. critically evaluate both the primary sources and the secondary literature on the topics covered by the course
  4. apply the acquired understanding of the subject and the analytical skills to conduct independent research related to the topics and themes of this course
  5. demonstrate academic presentation and writing skills.
Reading List
Indicative bibliography:


Asceric-Todd, I. (2007). 'The Noble Traders: The Islamic Tradition of "Spiritual Chivalry" (futuwwa) in Bosnian Trade-guilds (16th -19th centuries)'. The Muslim World. 97(2): 159-173.

Asceric-Todd, I. (2015). Dervishes and Islam in Bosnia: Sufi Dimensions to the Formation of Bosnian Muslim Society. Leiden and Boston: Brill (Introduction, 1-28, Chapter 1: Dervishes and the Ottoman Conquest of Bosnia, 31-56).

Asceric-Todd, I. (2018). 'The Ottoman Empire: An Introduction to its History and Heritage'. In I. Asceric-Todd, S. Knees, J. Starkey and Starkey, Paul, eds. Travellers in Ottoman Lands: The Botanical Legacy, 5-22. Oxford: Archaeopress, 2018.

Asceric-Todd, I. (2018). 'Religious Diversity and Tolerance in Ottoman Guilds'. In D. Thomas, & J. Chesworth, eds., Christian-Muslim Relations: A Bibliographical History Vol. 12. Asia, Africa and the Americas (1700-1800) (Vol. 12). (Christian-Muslim Relations. A Bibliographical History), 29-41. Leiden: Brill.

Asceric-Todd, I. (forthcoming in 2019). 'A Subaltern Hero: the 1573 Execution of Sheikh Hamza Bali as part of the 'Sunnitisation' of the Ottoman Empire.' A. Newman, ed. London: Routledge.

Bon, O. (d. 1623), Withers, Robert & Greaves, John. (1650). A Description of the Grand Signor's Seraglio, or Turkish Emperours Court. London: Printed for Jo. Martin, and Jo. Ridley, at the Castle in Fleet-street by Ram Alley.

Bon, O. (d. 1623). (1996). The Sultan's Seraglio: An Intimate Portrait of Life at the Ottoman Court, introduction by Godfrey Goodwin. London: Saqi.

Evliyâ Çelebi. (d. c. 1685). (1991). The Intimate Life of an Ottoman Statesmen, Melek Ahmed Pasha (1588-1662) as Portrayed in Evliya Çelebi's Book of Travels, translated by Robert Dankoff, with a historical introduction by Rhoads Murphey. Albany, State University of the New York Press.

Evliyâ Çelebi. (d. c. 1685). (2011). An Ottoman Traveller: Selections from the Book of Travels of Evliya Çelebi, translation and commentary by Robert Dankoff and Sooyong Kim. London: Eland.

Imber, C. (2002). The Ottoman Empire, c. 1300-1650: The structure of power, London: McMillan.

Inalcik, H. (2000). The Ottoman Empire: The classical age, 1300-1600. London: Phoenix Press.

Kunt, M. (1995). 'State and Sultan up to the Age of Süleyman: Frontier Principality to World Empire.' In M. Kunt, and C. Woodhead, eds. Süleyman the Magnificent and his Age: the Ottoman Empire in the Early Modern World. London; New York: Longman.

Mihailovic, Konstantin (d. 1501). (1975). Memoirs of a Janissary, transl. by B. Stolz, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan.

Montagu, Lady Mary Wortley (d. 1762). (1965). The Complete Letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu: Volume I: 1708-1720, edited by Robert Halsband. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Montagu, Mary Wortley, Anita Desai, and Malcolm Jack. (1994). The Turkish Embassy Letters. London: Virago Press.

Peirce, L.P. (1993). The Imperial Harem: Women and Sovereignty in the Ottoman Empire, New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Sharkey, H. J. (2017). A History of Muslims, Christians, and Jews in the Middle East, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, (Chapter 3: The Ottoman Experience, 64-114).

Wittek, P. (1958). The Rise of the Ottoman Empire. London: The Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, and sold by its agents Luzac and co., ltd.


Asceric-Todd, Ines, Sabina Knees, Janet Starkey and Paul Starkey, eds. (2018). Travellers in Ottoman Lands: The Botanical Legacy, 5-22. Oxford: Archaeopress, 2018.

Barkey, K. (2008). Empire of difference: The Ottomans in comparative perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Blunt, H. (1638). A Voyage into the Levant. London.

Cohen, Amnon, Eyal Ginio, Elie Podeh, and Rachel Milstein. (2014). The Ottoman Middle East: Studies in Honor of Amnon Cohen. Ottoman Empire and Its Heritage; v. 55. Leiden; Boston: Brill.

Dankoff, R. (2004). An Ottoman Mentality: The World of Evliya Çelebi. Leiden and Boston: Brill.

Euben, R. (2006). Journeys to the Other Shore: Muslim and Western Travelers in Search of Knowledge. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press.

Kafadar, C. (1995). Between Two Worlds: The Construction of the Ottoman State. Los Angeles: University of California press.

Karateke, Hakan, and Maurus Reinkowski. (2005). Legitimizing the order: The Ottoman rhetoric of state power. Leiden: Brill.

Katib Çelebi (d. 1658). (1957). The Balance of Truth, translated with an introduction and notes by G.L. Lewis. London: Allen and Unwin.

Kunt, Metin and Christine Woodhead, eds. (1995). Süleyman the Magnificent and his Age: the Ottoman Empire in the Early Modern World. London; New York: Longman.

Lapidus, I. (2012). Islamic Societies to the Nineteenth Century: A Global History, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 425-462.

Lowry, H.W. (2008). The Shaping of the Ottoman Balkans, 1350-1550: the Conquest, Settlement & Infrastructural Development of Northern Greece. Istanbul: Bahçesehir University Publications.

Montagu, Lady Mary Wortley (d. 1762). (1971). Letters from the Levant during the Embassy to Constantinople, 1716-18. New York: Arno Press.

Nisan, Mordechai. (2002). Minorities in the Middle East: A History of Struggle and Self-expression. Second ed. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co.

Peirce, L.P. (2018). Empress of the East: How a European Slave Girl became Queen of the Ottoman Empire. London: Icon Books.

Rycaut, P. (d.1700). (1971). The Present State of the Ottoman Empire. New York: Arno Press.

Sharkey, H. J. (2017). A History of Muslims, Christians, and Jews in the Middle East, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Woodhead, C. ed. (2012). The Ottoman World. Routledge Worlds. Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon; New York: Routledge.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills - Academic writing and referencing
- Critical analysis and synthesis of information and formulating evidence-based response to issues
connected with the field under study
- Communication skills
- Oral presentation competency
- Time management
KeywordsOttoman history,Ottoman Empire,Islam,Middle East,Turkey,Balkans,Byzantine history
Course organiserDr Ines Asceric-Todd
Tel: (0131 6)50 6814
Course secretaryMs Monique Brough
Tel: (0131 6)50 3618
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