History 335
Winter 2002
Professor Rudi Lindner

The Formation of the Ottoman Enterprise

            The greatest and longest-lived of the Islamic enterprises was that of the Ottomans.  Beginning in the thirteenth century, the rulers soon governed the southern, eastern, and northern Mediterranean as far as the outskirts of Venice.  Ottoman subjects challenged European power up to the walls of Vienna and Asian power in the Indian Ocean.  They were still contenders at the end of their sixth century, when the Sultan, in honor of the USA’s completing its first century, presented this university with gifts.  The Ottomans formed the last cosmopolitan polity in the Mediterranean basin.  To them we owe innovations in furniture, medicine, science, clothing, cuisine, and music.

            How this enterprise, commonly called the Ottoman Empire, came into being, how it prospered, how it staved off defeat, and how its subjects led their cosmopolitan lives, is the focus of History 335.  It is impossible to understand American history without a clear view of the establishment of the republic and the development of its institutions and customs, and just so is it impossible to understand the modern history of the Ottomans without a sense of the paths they chose to take.  For that reason, we look very carefully at the foundation myths and truths, the contracts men and women made with each other, the negotiations between faiths and cultures, and the ties they forged to bond themselves to each other.  Many of the lectures and class meetings will cover topics rather than chronology, and we shall look at images as well as discuss what we read; so that you may expect to learn a fair amount about more recent Ottoman history as well as the formative generations.

            The readings average 100 pages a week.  Feel free to ask questions about them, as I do not expect you to have had prior course work in this field.  I am not interested in your memorizing the technical terms of the field.  In the lectures I shall discuss topics and interpretations rather than slog through chronology.  I am open to your suggestions about topics that interest you, insofar as I know anything about them!  Each class session will have a particular issue on which to focus, and I shall signal you at the outset and in summary at the end.  We shall also discuss the readings and look at images of Ottoman society and culture every week.  You will note that the readings come from a variety of sources early in the term, and later on we focus on one recent textbook that attempts to bring together the first synthesis of Ottoman social and economic history.

            There will be one hour examination, a final examination, possibly a few quizzes, and a comparative book report on a topic of your choice that I must approve in advance.  The hour examination will contain one short answer question and an essay, and it will make up roughly a quarter of the course grade; the final examination will be similar in construction, and it will be worth about half the course grade.  I shall hand out study sheets from which I shall take the essay questions, so that you will know just what to study.  The report on two books, about ten pages in length, will be worth as much as the hour examination.  Participation in class discussion can help your grade.  The quizzes will take place if it becomes clear that you are ignoring the work of the course.  If your work improves during the term, I shall weight the later, better work more heavily in determining your final course grade.

            The reading load is greater early in the term, in order to give you more time for the book report later.  Overall, you should reserve about four hours a week outside of class to do the reading, review your notes, and prepare the book report.  I shall be happy to make suggestions to get you off to an early start on the book report.

            I shall distribute a handout describing the comparative book report, but at the outset you should know that I care about the quality of your writing: I won't give you credit for work that I cannot understand.  Further, I take plagiarism very seriously.  Please go to the web site of the Office of Student Academic Affairs and check the definition of plagiarism: you are responsible for it.  Students who plagiarize will fail and the case file will go to the Dean for further action.  If you are in any doubt about whether your use of material constitutes plagiarism, please seek my assistance.

            Because we meet in the afternoon, you should feel free to bring lunch with you. I don't care if you eat in class and I don't care if you fall asleep -- but I draw the line at food fights or snoring.  Please do not read during class or disrupt the work of others with conversation.  Class will begin at 2:30 and there will be a five-minute break about half-way through.

            The course books are available at Ulrich's and perhaps at the other bookstores.  You may find it less expensive to obtain books through the internet.  Sites I have used successfully include www.abe.com and www.bookfinder.com.  There will be a course pack available at Accu-Copy, next to the Cottage Inn.  Many of the readings will be on reserve at the Undergraduate Library.  My office is at 222 University Towers, and my telephone number is 763-2290, with voice mail.  My e-mail address is rpl@umich.edu, but you should not assume that I check for messages each day.  I shall hold office hours Fridays between 10:30 and noon.  Some materials for this course will be available on my web site, http://www-personal.umich.edu/~rpl.

            Please note that the dates and time listed for the hour examination and the final examination are fixed, and there will be no other dates or times for those examinations.  I give make-up examinations only for documented medical emergencies.

Class Schedule

Please do the readings before the date assigned and bring them to class for reference during the discussion.

Jan. 8

No class.

Jan. 10

Introductions and background.  Who are the Turks?  Who are the Byzantines?  What is a Christian?  What is a Muslim?

Jan. 15

Byzantium faces the Turks.  Claude Cahen, "The Turks in Iran and Anatolia before the Mongol Invasions."  In Kenneth M. Setton, ed., A History of the Crusades, vol. 2 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1962): 675-692, course pack.

Jan. 17

Social change and religious conversion during the twelfth and later centuries.  Why do people convert? Claude Cahen, The Formation of Turkey (Longman paperback): 73-169.

Jan. 22

Uh-oh: The Mongol peril.  David Christian, A History of Russia, Central Asia and Mongolia, vol. 1 (Malden: Blackwell, 1998): 385-428, course pack.

Jan. 24

The Mongols in Iran and their modern legacy.  David O. Morgan, The Mongols (Oxford: Blackwell, 1986), 145-174, course pack.

Jan. 29

The Mongols transform Anatolia.  Cahen, "The Mongols and the Near East," in Setton, Crusades, 715-732, course pack.  Cahen, Formation, 237-270.

Jan. 31

Who were the Ottomans?  Lindner, "How Mongol were the early Ottomans?"  In Reuven Amitai-Preiss and David O. Morgan, eds., The Mongol Empire and Its Legacy (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2000): 282-289, course pack.

Feb. 5

A traveler views the Ottomans and their rivals.  The Travels of Ibn Battuta, vol. 2, tr. H.A.R. Gibb (Cambridge: CUP, 1962): 413-469, course pack.  Halil Inalcik, The Ottoman Empire: The Classical Age 1300-1600 (Phoenix paperback): 5-8.

Feb. 7

Early Ottoman society as a Byzantine saw it.  George G. Arnakis, "Gregory Palamas among the Turks and documents of his captivity as historical sources."  Speculum 26(1951): 104-118, course pack.  Inalcik, Empire: 9-22.

Feb. 12

The Vienna interpretation of Ottoman history.  Paul Wittek, The Rise of the Ottoman Empire (London, 1938), course pack.  Inalcik, Empire: 23-54.

Feb. 14

Another Vienna interpretation.

Feb. 19

The initial Ottoman impact on the Balkans in politics, religion, and culture.  The impact of the dervish orders.  Inalcik, Empire: 55-75.

Feb. 21

Hour examination, without exception.

Mar. 5

The end of Byzantium.  Inalcik, Empire: 76-118

Mar. 7

Creating an imperial city, Istanbul.  Inalcik, Empire: 121-162

Mar. 12

The last nomadic challenge: an internal enemy and a seismic shift in the geography of Islam.

Mar. 14

An overview of the sixteenth century.  Inalcik, Empire: 35-40

Mar. 19

The Ottoman social fabric and its self-image.  Halil Inalcik, An Economic and Social History of the Ottoman Empire, vol. 1 (Cambridge University Press paperback): 1-41.

Mar. 21

Süleyman the Magnificent and his legacy.  Essays from Metin Kunt and Christine Woodhead, eds., Süleyman the Magnificent and His Age (London: Longman, 1995): 91-113, 165-190.

Mar. 26

The imperial view and the view from below.  Inalcik, Empire: 41-52. Inalcik, Economic and Social History: 44-100.

Mar. 28

The non-spread of printing and the technological fault line between Europe and the Near East.  Lindner, "Icons among iconoclasts in the Renaissance."  In George Bornstein and Theresa Tinkle, eds., The Iconic Page in Manuscript, Print, and Digital Culture (Ann Arbor: UMP, 1999): 89-107, course pack.

Apr. 2

The gunpowder state and its drawbacks.  Inalcik, Economic and Social History: 103-177.

Apr. 4

Popular culture and religious institutions.  Inalcik, Empire: 165-202

Apr. 9

Book Report due in class.

Apr. 11

A second view from Istanbul.  Inalcik, Economic and Social History:179-255.

Apr. 16


Apr. 19

Final examination, 4:00-6:00, without exception.