Advanced Source Reading Class in Ottoman Historiography (16th-17th Centuries)

Course Description: 

The aim of this course is to provide students familiarity with a select set of textual and archival sources related to early modern Ottoman history. More specifically, the course has a focus on the period of ca. 1580-1650, which many scholars today consider the beginning of a long era of “crisis and transformation” in the dynastic, political, socio-economic, military and administrative structures of the Ottoman Empire. We will accordingly explore, read and compare a range of primary sources in manuscript or published forms (such as siyâsetnâmes, nasîhatnâmes, kânûnnâmes, reform treatises, religious tracts, letters of advice and memoirs) while discussing them in the light of most recent scholarly literature so as to reach at a better understanding of the complex patterns and historical conceptualizations of continuity and change in the key institutions of the early modern Ottoman imperial system in the post-1580 era.

Learning Outcomes: 
  1. Acquiring a good knowledge of different primary source materials about early modern Ottoman political, intellectual and socio-economic history
  2. Considering new methodological and theoretical approaches to the old and new sources in relation to late sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Ottoman history;
  3. Establishing a vocabulary in English connected to technical and theoretical concepts related to early modern Ottoman studies
  4. Acquiring and/or strengthening interdisciplinary approaches in the field of history.

Class participation (20%)

Preparation of texts and discussion questions (40%)

Paper assignment based on a primary source at the end of the term (40%)


This class is open to all students with medium to advanced Ottoman-Turkish reading skills.