Indiana University Bloomington
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Cultural History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey



This course is designed to introduce graduate and particularly undergraduate students to the rich and varied cultures of Turkey, from Ottoman times to the present. After briefly touching upon the general history of the Anatolian Turks, we will study the social, economic and political structures of Ottoman and Turkish Anatolia, the languages, the literatures and the many artistic traditions of the Anatolian peoples. How different was the literary language of the Ottoman elite from the language which has been spoken by the people of Anatolia for centuries? What was the social status of Turkish women during the Ottoman Empire? What changes took place after the emergence of Modern Turkey? Along with these questions, we will deal with other significant topics, such as literacy/illiteracy in Turkish society; the secular enterprise of Kemal Atatürk; Anatolian Sufism; Turkish folk Islam; Turkish Islamisms (from militant to lawful “moderate”); the “Turkish Islam” movement of Fethullah Gülen; Turkish educational institutions; the emergence of Kurdish nationalism; PKK terrorism; Turkey’s European Union struggle, and others. In addition to the assigned readings, Turkish films and other visual materials will be used to familiarize students with the historical, artistic and political structure of Anatolian/Turkish society.

Regions Covered

Historical Central Eurasia


Department of Central Eurasian Studies