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HIST 3554 Modern Turkey: From Empire to Nation State: Syllabus

Course Information

Louis Fishman

Office Hours: Wednesday 12:30-2:00 or by appointment

Boylan 1120B

Learning Objectives

This class will enable the students to understand how “modernity” radically changed the lives of the peoples living in the former Ottoman Empire, and how the transformation to the Turkish nation-state created new boundaries for the different ethnic and religious communities in Turkey. Furthermore, it will show how there is a direct correlation between historical events which occurred over a century ago and the current political and social state of Turkey today.  This will be achieved by reviewing and analyzing primary sources, secondary sources, literary sources, and other forms of popular culture, such as music and film. Further, the class will learn how to summarize their papers and present their findings to the class, in a brief and concise manner.     

Grading and Assessment

Outcome assessment: The grade will be based on a 5-7 page research paper (20%), review of a journalistic article in comparison with the historiography concerning an event (20%), midterm (20%) a final exam (25%), and participation (15%).

Guidelines concerning participation and attendance

Both your attendance and participation will be evaluated and factored into your final grade (15% of the total).  I highly encourage you to participate in class discussions, and I will work to ensure an environment in which all opinions are treated respectfully. 

If you need to miss class for a religious observation, please notify me in advance.  Missing more than 3 class sessions for any reason will lead to a reduction in your attendance and participation grade.  If, however, an extreme circumstance prevents you from attending several classes (illness or other personal issues), inform me as soon as possible so that we can decide on how you can make up what you have missed.


University Policy On Academic Integrity:

The faculty and administration of Brooklyn College support an environment free from cheating and plagiarism. Each student is responsible for being aware of what constitutes cheating and plagiarism and for avoiding both.  The complete text of the CUNY Academic Integrity Policy and the Brooklyn

College procedure for implementing that policy can be found at this site:  If a faculty member suspects a violation of academic integrity and, upon investigation, confirms that violation, or if the student admits the violation, the faculty member MUST report the violation.

Center for Disability Services:

In order to receive disability-related academic accommodations students must first be registered with the Center for Student Disability Services. Students who have a documented disability or suspect they may have a disability are invited to set up an appointment with the Director of the Center for Student Disability Services, Ms. Valerie Stewart-Lovell at 718-951-5538. If you have already registered with the Center for Student Disability Services please provide your professor with the course accommodation form and discuss your specific accommodation with him/her.


This is a zero-textbook cost course of the Brooklyn College Open Educational Resources Project. Refer to this website for all course readings and supplementary materials. The url of this course site is


Access articles and readings through the Unit Links above

1.  Introduction Aug 25

Lecture: From Ottoman Empire to Nation-State

2. Overview of Turkish history up to 19th century Aug 30-September 2

Textbook, Chapter 1-2, The Ottoman Legacy

Primary Source: The Treaty at Küçük Kaynarca

3.  The Ottoman Empire in the 19th century and the Tanzimat (Sept 13-20)

Uriel Heyd "The Ottoman ‘Ulema and Westernization in the Time of Selim III and Mahmud II" in the The Modern Middle East, Albert Hourani, Philip Khoury, and Mary C. Wilson (eds.) (New York: I.B. Taurus, 1993), 29-59.

Roderic Davison “Turkish Attitudes Concerning Christian-Muslim Equality in the Nineteenth Century, in the The Modern Middle East, Albert Hourani, Philip Khoury, and Mary C. Wilson (eds.) (New York: I.B. Taurus, 1993), 60-81

Butrus Abu Manneh, "The Islamic Roots of the Gulhane Rescript" in Die Welt des Islams 34 (1994), 175-203.

Primary Sources:

The Hatt-i Serif of Gülhane

Sultan Abdülmecid Hatt-ı Hümayun (Islahat Fermanı-Rescript of Reform)

4. Abdulhamid II and Constitutionalism Sept 22-27 (only the two pictures Turkish (Arabic characters) and the French One)

Selim Deringil, “Legitimacy Structures in the Ottoman State: The Reign of Abdulhamid II (1876-1909)” in International Journal of Middle East Studies 23, 3 (Aug 1991), pp. 345-359.

Georgeon, François. “Ottomans and drinkers: The consumption of alcohol in Istanbul in the nineteenth century” in Rogan E. Outside In: On the Margins of the Modern Middle East (London: I.B. Tauris, 2002), 7-30.

Primary Source: Namik Kemal, “And Seek Their Counsel in the Matter [Qur'an, Sura 3, Verse 159] [“Wa shawirhum fi’l-amr,” Hürriyet (Liberty), London, England, number 4, July 20, 1868, pp. 1–4. Translation from Turkish and introduction by M. Şükrü Hanioğlu]

5. The Young Turk Period and WWI Sept 29-Oct 4

Use the following photos for this section:

Textbook, Chapter 3, From Empire to Nation 1908-1923, pg. 31

Paul Dumont "Said Bey: The Everyday Life of and Istanbul Townsman at the Beginning of the Twentieth Century," in the Modern Middle East, 271-288.

Hasan Kayali, “Elections and the Electoral Process in the Ottoman Empire, 1876-1919,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 27, no. 3 (1995): 265-86

Stamatopoulos, Dimitrios “From Millets to Minorities in the 19th-Century Ottoman Empire: an Ambiguous Modernization” in Ellis, Steven G., Guðmundur Hálfdanarson, and Ann Katherine Isaacs. 2006. Citizenship in historical perspective. Pisa [Italy]: Edizioni Plus, Pisa Univ. Press.

6. The Turkish State, Ataturk, and the One-Party State October 6-13


Use the following photo for this section:

Textbook, Chapter 4, The New Turkey: Society and Economy (1923-945)

Aktar, Ayhan. "Homogenising the Nation, Turkifying the Economy: The Turkish Experience of Population Exchange Reconsidered.” In Hirschon, Renée, ed. Crossing the Aegean: An Appraisal of the 1923 Compulsory Population Exchange between Greece and Turkey. New York; Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2008. 

Baer, Marc. "The Double Bind of Race and Religion: The Conversion of the Donme to Turkish Secular Nationalism," in Society for Comparative Study of Society and History, Oct 2004.

Aytürk, İlker. "The First Episode of Language Reform in Republican Turkey: The Language Council from 1926 to 1931." Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 18, no. 3 (2008): 275-93.

6b. Turkish Historiography of WWI and the Early State October 18-20

Gocek, Fatma Muge. "Reconstructing the Turkish Historiography on the Armenian Massacres and Deaths of 1915," in Richard G. Hovannisian, Looking Backward, Moving Forward, 2003.

Adak, Hulya. "National Myths and Self-Na(rra)tions: Mustafa Kemal's Nutuk and Halide Edib's Memoirs and The Turkish Ordeal." in The South Atlantic Quarterly - Volume 102, Number 2/3, Spring/Summer 2003, pp. 509-527.

Primary source: Readings from the Nutuk

7. The Rise of the Multi-Party System and the Breakdown of the Political System 1945-1980 October 25-27

Text Book, Chapter 5, The Multiparty Conundrum 1945-1960; Chapter 6, Military Intervention, Institutional Restructuring, and Ideological Parties 1960-1917

Saribay, Ali Yasar. "The Democratic Party," in Political Parties. Levi, Avner. "The Justice Party, 1961-1980," in Political Parties

Hale, William. "The Turkish Army in Politics," in Andrew Finkel and Sirman, Nuket, Turkish State, Turkish Society, Chapter 3.

Finkel, Andrew, and Sirman Nükhet. Turkish State, Turkish Society (hereafter: Turkish State). London: Routledge, 1990, Chapter 3.

Caglar, Ayse Neviye. "The Grey Wolves as a Metaphor," in Turkish State, Chapter 4.

7a. 1971-1980 November 1

Textbook, Chapter 6, Military Intervention, Institutional Restructuring, and Ideological Parties

8. Post 1980 :The Rise of non-ideological parties and the Islamic Parties Nov 3  

Text book, Chapter 7, Military Intervention, Social Democracy, and Political Terror, 1980-1991

Candar, Cengiz. "Redefining Turkey's Political Center,' in Journal of Democracy 10.4 (1999) 129-141.

Ergil, Dogu. "The Kurdish Question in Turkey." in Journal of Democracy 11.3 (2000) 122-135.

8A. The Post-Modern Coup D’état Nov 8

Lombardi, Ben. "Turkey-The Return of the Reluctant Generals?" Political Science Quarterly 112, no. 2 (1997): 191-215. doi:10.2307/2657938.

9. The AKP Years: A Failed experiment of Multiculturalism November 10-15

Cizre, Umit. Turkey 2002: Kemalism, Islamism, and Politics in the Light of the February 28 Process," in The South Atlantic Quarterly 102.2/3 (2003) 309-332.

Baer, Marc David. "An Enemy Old and New: The Dönme, Anti-Semitism, and Conspiracy Theories in the Ottoman Empire and Turkish Republic." The Jewish Quarterly Review 103, no. 4 (2013): 523-55.

White, Jenny. “Spindle Autocracy in the New Turkey,” in Journal of World Affairs, 23, 2017.

10. Women, LGBT, and Gender, in the Turkish State and Society Nov 17-22

Kogacioglu, Dicle. "The Tradition Effect: Framing Honor Crimes in Turkey," Differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies 15.2 (2004) 119-151.

White, Jenny, B. "State Feminism, Modernization, and the Turkish Republican Woman," in NWSA Journal 15.3 (2003) 145-159.

Fishman, Louis A. "Turkey and LGBT rights: A historical and global perspective." Turkish Policy Quarterly 11.4 (2013): 149-159.

11. Defining the Other in Turkey Nov 24-29

Ali Tuna Kuyucu, “Ethno-religious ‘Unmixing’ of Turkey,’” in Nations and Nationalism 11 (3) (2005): 361-380.

Dressler, Markus. "Religio-Secular Metamorphoses: The Re-Making of Turkish Alevism." Journal of the American Academy of Religion 76, no. 2 (2008): 280-311.

12. Understanding Turkish politics through Music and literature Dec 1-6

Translations of music will be provided, in which we survey music that reflects some of the history we have studied during the semester.

13. To be added Dec 8

14, Concluding remarks: Dec 13