Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2010-2011 (archived)

Module HIST2671: THE OTTOMAN WORLD 1400-1700

Department: History


Type Open Level 2 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2010/11 Module Cap 50 Location Durham


  • A pass mark in at least ONE level on module in History.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To understand how a multi-ethnic, multi-religious empire was formed and maintained in the Middle East during the early modern period, under the leaders of a Muslim elite.
  • To provide a contrasting study to the western and Christian-dominated focus of most other Level 2 models to encourage students' appreciation of a broader historical perspective.


  • The Ottoman empire as defined not by geography, religion, ethnicity or language but by the rule of the Ottoman dynasty. What kind of 'Ottoman world' was it which extended over such different regions as Albania, the Crimea, Jerusalem and Algiers?
  • The Ottoman 'slave' system as the basis of central authority. Who were these slaves and how did they mediate between the sultan and his people?
  • The significance of the Ottoman military-administrative hierarchy
  • The importance of religion in establishing authority and consensus; the significance attached to Muslim and Christian pilgrimage routes and holy places
  • Provincial societies under Ottoman rule: how they related to Istanbul, in terms both of personnel and of communication, tax collection and military participation
  • Nomadic, agricultural and urban societies
  • Trade and communications: a pax Ottomanica?

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of the module students should: Understand the general principles on which the Ottoman empire was founded and maintained
  • Understand how such terms as 'golden age' and 'decline' have influenced interpretations of Ottoman history.
  • Understand controversial or 'difficult' issues in early modern Ottoman history.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Subject specific skills for this module can be viewed at: http://www.dur.ac.uk/history.internal/local/ModuleProformaMap/
Key Skills:
  • Key skills for this module can be viewed at: http://www.dur.ac.uk/history.internal/local/ModuleProformaMap/

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Student learning is facilitated by a combination of the following teaching methods:
  • lectures to set the foundations for further study and to provide the basis for the acquisition of subject specific knowledge. Lectures provide a broad framework which defines individual module content, introducing students to themes, debates and interpretations. In this environment, students are given the opportunity to develop skills in listening, selective note-taking and reflection;
  • seminars to allow students to present and critically reflect upon the acquired subject-specific knowledge, methodologies and theories, and to identify and debate a range of issues and differing opinions. The seminar is the forum in which students are given the opportunity to communicate ideas, jointly exploring themes and arguments. Seminars are structured to develop understanding and designed to maximise student participation related to prior independent preparation. Seminars give students the opportunity to develop oral communication skills, encourage critical and tolerant approaches to reasoned argument and historical discussion, build the students' ability to marshal historical evidence, and facilitate the development of the ability to summarise historical arguments, think in a rapidly changing environment and communicate in a persuasive and articulate manner, whilst recognising the value of working with others and, occasionally, towards shared goals.
  • Assessment:
  • Summative essays remain a central component of assessment in history, due to the integrative high-order skills they develop. Essays allow students the opportunity to recognise, represent and critically reflect upon ideas, concepts and problems; students can demonstrate awareness of, and the ability to use and evaluate, a diverse range of resources and identify, represent and debate a range of subject-specific issues and opinions. Through the essay, students can synthesise information, adopt critical appraisals and develop reasoned argument based on individual research; they should be able to communicate ideas in writing, with clarity and coherence; and to show the ability to integrate and critically assess material from a wide range of sources.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 20 Weekly; revision lecture 1 hour 20
Seminars 8 3 in term one, 3 in term two; set-up seminar in term 1; revision seminar in term 3 1 hour 8
Preparation and Reading 172
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Essays Component Weighting: 40%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
essay 1, not including footnotes and bibliography 2000 words 50%
essay 2, not including footnotes and bibliography 2000 words 50%
Component: Examination Component Weighting: 60%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
unseen examination 2 hours 100%

Formative Assessment:

One or more short assignments submitted in writing or delivered orally and discussed either 1:1 or in a group context.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University