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Module

HIS3335 : Europe and the Ottoman Empire, 1453-1798

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Simon Mills
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semesters
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0

Aims

The early modern period is often defined as the age in which Europeans explored and colonised the New World, and by the ‘shock of discovery’ resulting from the European encounter with the peoples and the civilisations of the American continents. Yet the geopolitics of recent decades, from Western military interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan, to the unfolding of the ‘Arab spring’, to debates over the role of Islam in Europe and North America, have increasingly led historians to turn their attention to the ongoing relationship between Europe and the Islamic world during the period between the fall of Byzantine Constantinople and the Napoleonic invasion of Egypt.

In this option, we shall dig beneath overly-simplistic accounts of Western representations of an ‘Oriental’ East and clichéd notions of a ‘clash of civilizations’ to discover some of the myriad connections which linked Europe and the Ottoman Empire throughout this period. We shall explore some of the institutions – mercantile, diplomatic, ecclesiastical, and scholarly – which transcended the boundaries between Christian Europe and the lands of Islam; and we shall encounter the lives and the often fascinating careers of the various individuals who moved between these worlds: from Barbary corsairs to Greek dragomans; from Flemish diplomats to Jesuit missionaries.

Through these keyholes, we shall begin to catch sight of the flows of people, objects, and ideas between early modern Europe and the Ottoman Empire. We shall uncover how these interactions were played out in the port cities of Europe and the Middle East, and we shall learn to ask unexpected questions about these encounters: how did an Icelandic Lutheran minister end up as a slave on the North-African coast? How did Arabic books come to be printed in the Netherlands? And how did Luther come to write a preface to the Qur'an? This will lead us, in turn, to rethink some of the broader narratives of early modern European history, and indeed to question whether ‘Europe’ and ‘the Ottoman Empire’ can meaningfully be separated, or whether, as some historians have tried to do, we ought to look instead for new models of a more integrated historiography.

Through a selection of weekly readings focused on primary sources, we shall survey a range of approaches to understanding the early modern period. These will include the more traditional methods of political and diplomatic history, as well as recent historians' attempts to describe processes of intellectual and cultural exchange and to analyze the significance of cross-cultural encounters. We shall question the relative advantages and disadvantages of these different methodologies: what, for example, are the benefits of the continuing urge to construct meta-narratives of Mediterranean history against the recent turn to biographical and ‘microhistorical’ approaches? How might the concept of an early modern ‘republic of letters’ be extended to include areas outside Europe? And how might a focus on the material aspects of the past provide further insight into the connections between Europe and the Ottoman Empire?

Outline Of Syllabus

The syllabus will cover a selection of the following themes: Europe and the Ottoman Empire: an Overview; Trade; Diplomacy; Warfare; Piracy and Captivity; Missions; Travellers; Statesmen; Scholars; Turquerie: the Ottomans in the European Imagination.

Teaching Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion301:0030:00Additional time for work on summative assessments
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading181:0018:00Essential background reading in secondary literature, approx 2 hrs per week
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities271:0027:00Structured reading to prepare for primary source seminars, approx. 3 hrs per week
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching91:009:00Online seminars: primary sources
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching91:009:00Online seminars: historical background and secondary scholarship
Structured Guided LearningStructured non-synchronous discussion91:009:00Student-led primary source presentations
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study981:0098:00Wider reading
Total200:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The online seminars will provide students with the chance to practise the evaluation and interpretation of primary sources, and to think about how these sources can be integrated into broader historical arguments. The seminars will also be an opportunity to improve students’ skills in oral presentation, both through pre-prepared presentations, and through group discussion.

Structured guided learning will be at the core of the module. Students will be expected to devote the bulk of their time to their reading – primary sources, the weekly ‘core readings’ (Essential background reading), and wider reading, using the reading lists in the module guide as a starting point. The seminars will provide a further opportunity to reflect back on this independent study, discussing issues which arise, and deepening an understanding of the relevant historiographical debates.

Assessment Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Exams
Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1352A6024 hr Take Home Exam
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M40Review essay of 2,000 words (including footnotes, but excluding bibliography)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The examination will test the acquisition of a thorough knowledge of the history of European-Ottoman relations. It will assess the general knowledge of history and historiography the student has gained throughout the course of the module, as well as the detailed knowledge of particular primary sources, and the student’s ability to draw on these to construct a focused and clearly-expounded argument under the constraints of time.

The review essay will test the student’s ability to engage critically and deeply with the work of a practising historian, analyzing the use of primary source material and developing a sophisticated understanding of and response to the argument in relation to other relevant secondary literature and broader historiographical questions, and to write lucidly and confidently to a high standard.

The ability to present ideas clearly and convincingly in oral form will be tested by (non-assessed) pre-prepared presentations in the seminars, and through ongoing group discussion.

This module can be made available to Erasmus students only with the agreement of the Head of Subject and of the Module Leader. This option must be discussed in person at the beginning of your exchange period. No restrictions apply to study-abroad, exchange and Loyola students.

All Erasmus students at Newcastle University are expected to do the same assessment as students registered for a degree.

Study-abroad, non-Erasmus exchange and Loyola students spending semester 1 only are required to finish their assessment while in Newcastle. This will take the form of an alternative assessment, as outlined in the formats below:

Modules assessed by Coursework and Exam:
The normal alternative form of assessment for all semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be one essay in addition to the other coursework assessment (the length of the essay should be adjusted in order to comply with the assessment tariff); to be submitted no later than 12pm Friday of week 12. The essays should be set so as to assure coverage of the course content to date.

Modules assessed by Exam only:
The normal alternative form of assessment for all semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be two 2,000 word written exercises; to be submitted no later than 12pm Friday of week 12. The essays should be set so as to assure coverage of the course content to date.

Modules assessed by Coursework only:
All semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be expected to complete the standard assessment for the module; to be submitted no later than 12pm Friday of week 12. The essays should be set so as to assure coverage of the course content to date

Reading Lists

Timetable