This course provides an introduction to the Turko-Islamic élite and popular culture of the Ottoman Empire. The course approaches its subject within the broader context of Islamic culture on the one hand, and the specific geographical and social conditions of the Ottoman world on the other. After a theoretical unit on the significance of cultural history, the course will give a brief framework of political and institutional history. One major unit will be devoted to the social spaces in which this culture unfolds, and to human networks which sustain it: The court, the religious institutions, economic activities, the family. The second major part will discuss expressions of this culture, beginning with the Ottoman manifestations of Islam as the primary point of reference of an Ottoman identity, and then moving to literature, arts, and material culture. The final part is designed to emphasize the diachronic dynamics in order to avoid an 'orientalist' static picture. Therefore the internal and external notions of a 'classical age' and its implications will be discussed critically, while a last unit will be devoted to westernization as a specific and important strain of modernization in the Near East. Textbook: Suraiya Faroqhi: Subjects of the Sultans, London; New York: I.B. Tauris, 2000.
Requirements: Regular classroom participation and contribution to discussions (20%); for graduate students a term paper no less than 3000 words; for undergraduates a book report no less than 2000 words (40%); midterm & final (40%).