From Atatürk to Erdoğan: Political History of Modern Turkey

Course Description: 

This exploration of modern Turkish history focuses on political history from the early twentieth century to the present with particular attention to the domestic, regional and international challenges facing the country. Following the foundation of the Turkish Republic in 1923, its leaders embarked on sweeping series of reforms aimed at modernizing the country and orienting itself, cultural and politically, with the Europe and the United States. Because of this period of drastic reform and its mixed results, Turkey is often described as an exceptional or unique country in the Middle East. This course will examine Turkish history with special attention (and skepticism) toward the question of Turkey’s unique status and, moreover, will attempt to understand to how the trajectory of the country relates to its neighbors as well as to global trends.

Learning Outcomes: 

- To introduce key issues and themes in modern Turkish history

-To debate and reflect upon recent scholarship

-To develop research, writing and presentations skills


Course Preparation. Prepare for class by a) completing the readings and b) writing a 1-2 paragraph summary of the reading for the day along with your questions/concerns.

Smart phones are not allowed during class. Enjoy this opportunity for intellectual and visual liberation.

Take notes when you read and bring them to class along with your readings.  You will refer to them to pose questions, support your arguments, and jog your memory.  I will ask you questions about them and refer to particular pages, passages, and wordings.

Submit your work on time.  Late work will incur a penalty of one letter increment (e.g. B becomes B-).  Work over three days late will incur a full grade deduction (B becomes C).  Excessively late work (over three days) will only be accepted at the instructor’s discretion.

Regular attendance is required.  Like all occasions in life, being there matters. Please inform the instructor if you have an emergency or health issue that requires missing class. 

Course Components and Grading

Weekly Summaries                                          25% 

Presentations                                                   25% 

Paper                                                               40% 

Participation/Attendance                                10%