CC + tutorial: Dynastic States and Royal Courts in Early Modern Eurasian History (1450-1700)

Course Description: 

Credits: 4.0 (with tutorial), 2.0 (without tutorial)

This course explores the broad topic of dynastic states in early modern Eurasian history. More specifically, it seeks to discuss the complex patterns of continuity and change in the key institutions of the so-called 'composite empires' between the 1450s and the early 1700s C.E.. The period in question in Eurasian history is marked by the presence and longevity of several dynastic/imperial powers centered in elaborate capitals or royal courts that governed and controlled diverse populations and vast domains. Accordingly, the course examines both the formative elements of these 'composite empires' as well as the interactions of their subject peoples in different urban settings, while at the same time attempting to find more meaningful points of comparison in terms of how such multicultural imperial entities and political spaces/centers evolved in time. It is in this context that a special emphasis will also be put on the Ottoman Empire in relation to other contemporary imperial/dynastic powers, such as the ones formed under the Tokugawa Shoguns in Japan, the Ming and Qing dynasties in China, the Romanovs in Russia, the Timurids in India, the Safavids in Iran, the Habsburgs in central Europe and in Spain, the Stuarts and Tudors in England, and the Valois and Bourbons in France.

Learning Outcomes: 

Rethinking the critical notions of 'continuity' and 'change' in the context of world history in general, and in Eurasian historiography in particular; a critical understanding of the range of historiographical and theoretical debates about composite empires, dynastic states and royal courts in the early modern era; developing an in-depth knowledge of the most important literature, themes, debates, methods, concepts, issues and approaches on dynastic states or empires in Eurasian history; acquiring a critical understanding of the relative merits and demerits of a range of interpretations of early modern dichotomies such as East/West or Occident/Orient; considering new methodological approaches to the old and new sources in relation to early modern studies; acquiring and/or strengthening interdisciplinary approaches in the field of history.


In-class presence:  Regular attendance for both lecture and discussion sessions are required. Up to two absences are excused while any unexcused absence will affect your grade.

Participation: This is a seminar-type class that relies on active student participation, thus expects all students come to each session prepared and be familiar with all the weekly assigned readings: 15 pts. 

Discussion questions: Each student will be responsible for preparing a set of 5 discussion questions related to weekly readings, twice during the term: 10 pts. 

Response papers: 3 response papers, 3-4 pages in length (Times New Roman, double-spaced, font 12): 45 pts (15 pts each).

Final Paper (8-10 pages): On a comparative topic of your choice (30 pts).

Students who are taking the class as a 2-credit elective course: are not expected to attend the tutorials or write a Final Paper, their participation in class discussion counts for 15 pts; discussion questions count for 10 pts; three response papers (3-4 pages) to the readings: 75 pts (25 pts each).