nl en

The Ottoman Empire and Europe


Admission requirements

Admission to the MA Arabic, Persian and Turkish Languages and Cultures or to the Research Master Area Studies: Asia and the Middle East, Specialisation Middle Eastern Studies. Proficient reading skills in modern Turkish (level B2 European Common Framework). Students who are interested in taking this course, but who are not admitted to one of the mentioned master programmes and/or are not sure whether they meet the language requirement are requested to contact one of the convenors, dr. J. Schmidt or dr. H.P.A. Theunissen


The weekly seminars concentrate on the historical development of relations diplomatic and otherwise between the Ottoman Empire and the European Powers. Special attention is paid to scholarly and cultural contacts and reciprocal influences between the West and the Islamic Middle East. The perception of the “other” in the two cultural zones are central to the discussions. Emphasis is laid on the interpretation of travel literature in its widest sense as produced both in Europe and the Ottoman Empire. Concomitant topics are political, military, commercial, diplomatic and cultural relations between European states and the Ottoman Empire and their development in time. The bilateral character of these relations is emphasised, and an Ottoman-centred approach – instead of the more common European-centred one – adopted.


For the most recent update of the timetable please click here

Mode of instruction

Participants are required to read approximately 150 pages of text per week. This includes both travelogues and related texts, one item of which is taken as a focus of attention each week, as well as (parts of) selected specialists’ works and scholarly articles. During each session students are required to give (powerpoint-)presentations of their views on one selected topic of discussion, based on the sources studied for that week. In conclusion, students are expected to write a 5000-word essay on a subject related to one of the themes central to the seminar.
Attendance of the classes is obligatory. Students are allowed to miss two classes for a good reason (to the discretion of the conveners) and will have to make up for the classes missed. Students who miss more than two classes will fail the course.

Assessment method

The final grade of this course will be composed of the following elements:

  • Active participation in group discussions and presentations (50%)

  • 5000-word essay (term paper) (50%)
    Students who earn a mark lower than 6 owing to insufficient participation, including the presentations, will have to sit a written examination on the subjects discussed during the course. The result will contribute 50% to the final mark.


Not applicable.

Reading list

Required reading:
A reader with secondary literature for required reading will be made available at the beginning of the course.


Registration via uSis

Contact information

Dr. J. Schmidt or dr. H.P.A. Theunissen