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Viewing: HIST 148 H: Ottoman Empire

Last approved: Mon, 04 Mar 2019 15:59:52 GMT

Last edit: Thu, 21 Feb 2019 15:19:05 GMT

First Name Last Name Userid Title Home School Org Short Name
Oscar Aguirre Mandujano oscaragm ASST PROFESSOR A School of Arts and Sciences History
Spring 2019
Spring 2019
Ottoman Empire
For almost six hundred years, the Ottomans ruled most of the Balkans and the Middle East. From their bases in Anatolia, Ottoman armies advanced into the Balkans, Syria, Egypt, and Iraq, constantly challenging the borders of neighboring European and Islamicate empires. By the end of the seventeenth century, Constantinople, Jerusalem, Cairo, Baghdad, Sarajevo, Budapest, and nearly Vienna came under Ottoman rule. As the empire expanded into Europe and the Middle East, the balance of imperial power shifted from warriors to converts, concubines, and intellectuals. This course examines the expansion of the Ottoman sultanate from a local principality into a sprawling empire with a sophisticated bureaucracy; it also investigates the social, cultural, and intellectual developments that accompanied the long arc of the empire's rise and fall. By the end of the course, students will be able to identify and discuss major currents of change in the Ottoman Empire and the Middle East. The student will have a better understanding of the roles of power, ideology, diplomacy, and gender in the construction of empire and a refined appreciation for diverse techniques of historical analysis.
NELC 148 - Warriors, Concubines & Converts: the Ottoman Empire in the Middle East & Europe
Every Other Term

Sector Requirements

Your department or program fields a variety of courses to meet distinct educational needs. Please explain how this course fits into your department's plan for participating in the general education curriculum of the College. The sector panel will want to know what is distinctive about this course along with the other courses your department lists in the sector that makes them suitable for the sector requirement.
This course will offer the key missing piece in our history/tradition curriculum: temporarily, it connect the medieval and modern eras; geographically, it connects Africa, Middle East, Europe, and Asia. Above all, the story of a multi-religious and multi ethnic Ottoman empire will offer a timely lesson for our students to reflect on the conflicts and tension we face in the global age today.
Course usually offered in Fall term
History & Tradition Sector
Oscar Aguirre Mandujano
Standing Faculty
Standing Faculty
This course provides an important survey of a major world region (Ottoman Empire) and time period (600 years). While this course focuses mostly on the Middle East, Europe and North Africa before the twentieth century it also provides the necessary background for understanding the modern Middle East. This course connects thematically with other courses in early modern history and geographically with courses on the modern Middle East and Africa. While this course is an introductory lecture, students with more specialized knowledge in the region will also find it relevant. Furthermore, the long chronological expanse of the course allows for reviews several approaches to history and historiography that are of interest to students of history and the humanities in general.
This course introduces students to the history of the Ottoman Empire. It investigates the social, cultural, and intellectual developments that accompanied the long arc of the empire's rise and fall. By the end of the course, students are able to identify and discuss major currents of change in the Ottoman Empire and the Middle East. The student also has a better understanding of the roles of power, ideology, diplomacy, and gender in the construction of empire and a refined appreciation for diverse techniques of historical analysis.

Methods of Assessment

There are two response papers 5 pages long in response to the required books.
There is one final paper, which must be an original contribution. The topic is selected in consultation with the instructor. The paper is 10 pages long, Times New Roman, 12 pts, double space, standard margins.
The midterm and final exams are take home exams. Assignments are available for the students on canvas on week 8 and 16 respectively. Both exams consist of 3 essay questions based on the primary sources read and discussed in class. The student selects two questions to answer.
Participation in class.

Sector I - Society


Sector II - History and Tradition

This course focuses on one primary source every week. Student’s read relevant scholarship for the first weekly meeting of the class and then discuss the primary source with the instructor on the second meeting.
In addition to the primary sources assigned weekly, the last 20 minutes of the second weekly meeting the students are given a paragraph relevant to the Ottoman intellectual tradition and this is explained and analyzed by the instructor. This helps the student acquire the necessary imagery and tropes for them to understand, discuss, and contextualize the readings done in class.
Discussion sessions (second meeting of the week) and assignments are built around the way students access information through close reading and contextualization and how this allows them to better understand and analyze relevant scholarship. The students, led by the instructor, develop different skills through directed reading of primary sources, which include structural analysis, data-mining, engagement with arguments, prioritizing information. This, in turn, allows for discussion of core ideas in texts and sources as well as it develops a method to read and discuss historical and scholarly works.
The class focuses on a variety of material and textual products that were part of the diverse set of imperial discourses established by the Ottoman imperial court, bureaucrats, artists, religious leaders among others. consequently, every week the class focuses on a different type of material, to understand the different ways in which history and tradition can be interpreted. Some of these include textual sources, manuscripts (codicology), textiles, tiles and ceramics, as well as urbanization (maps, urban development, infrastructure). The students also visit the Penn Museum and the Kislak Center to have a direct experience with the material.
Students write two response papers focuses on one literary source (historical fiction as source) and one primary source in translation. In addition to this, the Midterm and Final exams are take-home exams consisting on 3 essay questions regarding the primary sources discussed in class throughout the first and second half of the semester respectively. Each question builds upon an analytical skill, namely, contextualization, structure and architectonics, traditional imagery and heuristics. This assignments help them prepare for a final essay that asks them to discuss the relevant scholarship of a topic of choice in relation to the sources available for its study. This extended essay requires the student to develop a sound understanding of the interconnection between available historical sources and historical questions, the production of historical narratives, and the means available to interpret and analyze them.
The focus on the imperial discourse vis-à-vis local challenges among classes that belonged to the Ottoman empire but continuously tried to change its form of governance allows the student to see the constant changes, negotiations and discussions between the imperial center, the populations of the empire, and the surrounding empires. Furthermore, the student becomes aware of the appearance of new sources that derived from new technologies, new trade routes and new interactions with other states and geographies. This is better understood in the process of contextualization that the student needs to do for the midterm and final exams as well as for the response papers.
The entire course focuses on conflicting discourses, both textual and visual (cities, armies, maps, tiles). The center of this discourse is change, transformation derived from challenges posed by neighboring states, by shifting and emerging classes within the empire, and the conquest of new territories, including new languages, traditions and historical heritages (Arab lands, the Persianate world, Egypt, etc.). This changes in the discourse are further negotiated as new technologies appear, and new commodities and substances (coffee, opium, tobacco), as well as new materials (paper, print, silver), become available. The student follows closely how different imperial agents and subjects incorporated these innovations into traditional forms of knowing the world (religious discussions, moral questions about technologies or permissible uses of drugs, emergence of new social spaces and transformation of the landscape). In this sense, the student becomes aware of the nature of knowledge in two different levels. Historically, it changes as people adapt to the world and try to make sense of it with the available linguistic and discursive tools (literally, the tension between history as past and tradition as a present that resist it). Historiographically, the student also reflects on how scholars build knowledge of the past by using the available primary sources and posing questions relevant to their present.

Sector III - Arts & Letters


Sector IV - Humanities and Social Science


Sector V - Living World


Sector VI - Physical World


Sector VII - Natural Sciences and Mathematics


Administrative Field

College Curriculum Committee
Committee Reader
Molly McGlone
Molly Mcglone (mmcglone) (Thu, 14 Feb 2019 14:32:40 GMT): Rollback: I am writing because we need you to fill out the “endorser justification” field for Hist 148 in the new CM system. You need to click on the email that something is in your queue, then hit the blue “edit” button- as though you are going to change the course itself. Then please scroll down to the box that says “endorser justification” and write a paragraph or two about why this Hist course should be in the sectors and not others your department offers. Then you will need to “save” the course changes at the bottom of the form and then you can hit the green “approve” button. Let me know if you have trouble doing so. Molly
Key: 565