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Accentcollege: History and Culture of Modern Turkey


Admission Requirements

Having successfully completed the propedeutic exam of an Academic Bachelor programme.


The course History and Culture of Modern Turkey (1923-now) builds on the course Middle East History II, but with its exclusive focus on modern Turkish history profoundly deepens the knowledge gained in this general course. The course History and Culture of Modern Turkey (1923-now) also forms the second part of a specialized track on Turkish history and culture from 1300 to the present day. The first part of this track is the course Ottoman History and Culture (1300-1922). History and Culture of Modern Turkey deals with a number of major issues that have determined the way modern Turkey has developed. The issues that are treated during the course are: the legacy of war and ethnic conflict, the Kemalist reform programme, the political party landscape, demography (population growth and urbanization), the economy, cultural change and Turkey’s place in the world.
The course consists of bi-weekly thematic lectures of 90 minutes given by Prof. Erik-Jan Zürcher. These form the subject matter of the final test. The students prepare for the lectures by reading the textbook Turkey A Modern History. This will be the subject of the mid-term test. In the alternate weeks, the class is split up into two parallel seminars. In these seminars the students give 20-minute presentations on the primary and secondary materials provided for that week (50%), followed by Q&A and discussion. The seminars are taught by the tutor, Mr. Onur Ada.

Course objectives

Achieving a thorough knowledge of, and insight in, a number of major themes in the development of modern Turkey and a broad knowledge of the outlines of Turkish history in the 20th Century.



Mode of instruction

Students are expected to attend all classes, read the assigned material, expose themselves to the primary material, participate in the discussions and complete the assigned workload of the course. Students are expected to critically engage with the course material.

Assessment method

  • A mid-term exam (25%)

  • A final exam (25%)

  • Student Presentations in class (50%)

  • Resit mid-term/final exam (50%)

In order to pass the course, students must obtain an an overall mark of “6” or higher.

The course is an integrated whole and must be completed in the same academic year. No partial marks can be carried over into following years.


Blackboard will be used for internal communication and the distribution of additional reading and/or source material.

Reading list

Students are expected to read any of the following versions of the course book (only Part II and Part III of all the versions) and the relevant readings for each week of the course.

  • E.J. Zürcher, Een geschiedenis van het moderne Turkije, Amsterdam: 2006.

  • E.J. Zürcher, Modernleşen Türkiye’nin Tarihi, İstanbul: 2012.

  • E.J. Zürcher, Turkey: a Modern History, London and New York 2003.


Through uSis

Registration for ‘A la carte’ and ‘contractonderwijs’

Registration Contractonderwijs

Contact information

Prof. Dr. E.J. Zürcher


Deze cursus is de Engelstalige variant van Modern Turkse Geschiedenis en Cultuur die niet meer in het Nederlands wordt aangeboden.

Students with disabilities

The university is committed to supporting and accommodating students with disabilities as stated in the university protocol (especially pages 3-5). Students should contact Fenestra Disability Centre at least four weeks before the start of their courses to ensure that all necessary academic accomodations can be made in time conform the abovementioned protocol.

Academic Integrity

Students are expected to be familiar with Leiden University policies on plagiarism and academic integrity. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. If you submit any work with your name affixed to it, it is assumed to be your own work with all sources used properly indicated and documented in the text (with quotations and/or citations).