Fall 2020 - HIST 457 D100

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

Class Number: 3499

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 9 – Dec 8, 2020: Tue, 2:30–5:20 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.


Currently the world’s seventeenth largest economy and in the midst of a highly conflicted transition towards a presidential system of government, 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 attempted military coup of July 2016. We will start with a two week-overview of these trajectories of change. We will then move on to explore a series of related key issues, such as the 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?). These will be of interest to students of twentieth-century history in general. 

Please note that this course will be run synchronously: Our weekly seminar meetings will take place in real time in the Black Collaborate Ultra section of Hist. 457’s CANVAS page.


  • One-page, double-spaced term paper proposal (due in class, Week 5) 10%
  • Three-page, double-spaced term paper outline (due in class, Week 8) 15%
  • 16-page, double-spaced term paper (due in class, Week 13) 30%
  • One three-page and four two-page, double-spaced response papers 25%
  • Participation 20%


Prerequisites: 45 credit hours including 9 hours of lower division History credit; Hist 151 and Hist 249 (recommended). Students who have not taken these 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). 



Erik J. Zürcher, Turkey. A Modern History. Fourth edition (London: I.B. Tauris, 2017).

Thomas Kuehn, Courseware.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in fall 2020 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).