CC + tutorial: The “Seventeenth-century Crisis” in Comparative Perspective: European and Ottoman Experiences

Course Description: 

4 credits = Core class + tutorial
2 credits = Core class only

This course offers a topical survey of the so-called "General Crisis of the Seventeenth Century" as experienced concurrently in Europe and the Ottoman Empire from the late sixteenth century to the turn of the eighteenth century. Using both a lecture and discussion formats, the course mainly addresses three interrelated topics: first, the ongoing scholarly debate on the nature and scope of the "Seventeenth-Century Crisis" in world history; second, the underlying factors behind this crisis era in Europe and the Ottoman Empire (e.g., socio-political, dynastic and economic problems, prolonged imperial, military and/or religious conflicts, the 'Little Ice Age' or climate change, new types of warfare, etc.); and third, the transformative impact of this general crisis over the political, socio-economic, military, ideological, administrative/institutional, religious and communal make-up of the European and Ottoman societies and states alike. Overall, this course aims to provide students methods and notions of comparison, its uses and the challenges it faces in the examination of early modern European history and that of the Ottoman Empire together, while drawing on a range of primary and secondary source materials and merging the most recent historiographies of European and Ottoman seventeenth-century studies.

Learning Outcomes: 
  1. Rethinking the critical notions of 'decline', 'crisis' and 'change' in the context of world history in general, and in early modern European and Ottoman historiographies in particular
  2. A critical understanding of the range of historiographical and theoretical debates about composite empires and dynastic states in the early modern era
  3. Developing an in-depth knowledge of the most important literature, themes, debates, methods, concepts, issues and approaches on seventeenth-century European and Ottoman history
  4. 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
  5. Considering new methodological approaches to the old and new sources in relation to early modern European and Ottoman fields;
  6. Acquiring and/or strengthening interdisciplinary approaches in the field of history.

• Participation in the discussion: 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 chosen topic): 30 pts. on a comparative topic of your choice.

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).