Fall 2015 - HIST 457 D100

The Turkish Republic: Politics, Society, and Culture, 1918-Present (4)

Class Number: 5963

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 8 – Dec 7, 2015: Mon, 1:30–5:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units including nine units of lower division history. Recommended: HIST 151 and 249.



Examines the political, social, and cultural transformation in Turkey from the end of World War I to the present. Topics may include the Ottoman legacy in the Turkish Republic, issues of nation building, national identity and ethnicity, the role of the military in Turkish politics, changing concepts of gender, the role of political Islam, and Turkish diasporas. Students with credit in HIST 486 D100 in Fall 2005 may not take this course for further credit.


Often described as the only real democracy in the Muslim world and currently the world’s seventeenth largest economy, the Republic of Turkey is one of the principal successor states of the Ottoman Empire and an emerging economic and political power in the eastern Mediterranean. This course examines the transformation of politics, society, and culture in Turkey from the War of Independence in 1919-22 to the Taksim Square protests in May of 2013. We will start with a two week-overview of these trajectories of change and will then move on to explore a series of related key issues, such as the question of continuities and ruptures between empire and republic, the tensions and contradictions of nation building, the rise of the military to political prominence from the 1960s, contested notions of secularism and political Islam as central elements of Turkish politics and culture, tensions between urban centers like Istanbul and Ankara and the Anatolian “hinterland,” the relationship between Turkey and European Union, and the ongoing power struggle between the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on one side and the so-called "deep state" composed of high-ranking military officers, jurists, and bureaucrats on the other. The emphasis of this course will, therefore, be not on “events” but rather on the historiographical problems and debates reflected in our readings (e.g. What is nationalism? What is the modern state?), that will be of interest to students of twentieth-century history in general.

Students who have not taken the recommended HIST 151 and HIST 249 courses should read the chapters covering the period up to the end of World War I in William L. Cleveland, A History of the Modern Middle East. 3rd edition (Boulder: Westview Press, 2004).


  • One-page, double-spaced term paper proposal 10%
  • Three-page, double-spaced term paper outline 15%
  • 16-page, double-spaced term paper 30%
  • One three-page and four two-page, double-spaced response papers 25%
  • Participation 20%



Erik J. Zürcher, Turkey. A Modern History. Revised edition (London: I. B.   Tauris, 2004).

Thomas Kuehn, Courseware

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