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The Ottoman Empire and Europe


Admission requirements

Admission to the MA Middle Eastern Studies or to the MA Middle Eastern Studies (research). Students who are interested in taking this course, but who are not admitted to one of the mentioned master programmes are requested to contact the convenor, dr. J. Schmidt.


The subject of this course is the historical development of relations diplomatic and otherwise between the Ottoman Empire and the European Powers. Special attention will be 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 will be central to the discussions. Emphasis will be laid on the interpretation of travel literature in its widest sense as produced both in Europe and the Ottoman Empire. Concomitant topics will be 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 will be emphasized, and an Ottoman-centered approach – instead of the more common European-centered one – will be adopted.

Course objectives

Course objectives are acquiring insight into some of the main themes which played an important role in the bi-lateral relations between Europe and the Ottoman Empire, which was part of a, in many respects, different world in which Islam was a dominant factor. The student will be trained to take notice of the differences between western and eastern (Islamic) cultures and to abandon a dominantly Europe-centered approach and imagine oneself in the position of human beings living in a different culture.



Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Attendance and participation are obligatory. Classes missed for a good reason (to the discretion of the conveners and to be discussed BEFORE the class takes place) will have to be made up with an extra assignment. Being absent without notification can result in a lower grade or exclusion from the term end paper and a failing grade for the course.

Course Load

The course load is 10 ECTS equal to 280 hours.

  • Hours spent on attending the seminar: 2 hours per week x 13 weeks = 26 hours

  • Time for studying the compulsive literature: 2000 pages : 20 per hour = 100 hours

  • Time for composing a presentation: 19 hours

  • Time to write the term paper: 135 hours

Assessment method

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

  • Active participation in group discussions and presentations (40%)

  • 5,000-word essay (term paper) (60%). A printed draft version is to be presented and discussed during the course (=second presentation); the feedback given by the instructor and fellow students must be integrated into the final version.

In order to pass the course, students must obtain an overall mark of 5.50 (=6) or higher. A new version of the final assignment (60%) may be written if the overall mark for the course is “5.49” (=5) or lower. If students take this option, they must choose an alternative topic. They will not be permitted to resubmit the same paper. The deadline for this version will be determined in consultation.

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



Reading list

Will be made available to the students at the beginning of the course


Students are required to register through uSis. To avoid mistakes and problems, students are strongly advised to register in uSis through the activity number which can be found in the timetable in the column under the heading “Act.nbr.”.

Not being registered, means no permission to attend this course. See also the ‘Registration procedures for classes and examinations’ for registration deadlines and more information on how to register.


Dhr. dr. J. Schmidt.


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 accommodations 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).