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History and Culture of Modern Turkey


Admission Requirements

This class is intended (in order of preference) for:

  • (1) students of the BA Middle Eastern Studies who have successfully completed the propedeutic exam of the BA Middle Eastern Studies;

  • (2) premaster students for the MA Middle Eastern Studies;

  • (3) students from other programmes. Please contact the coordinator of studies, Eli van Duijnen, to find out whether you can be admitted to this class.


The course History and Culture of Modern Turkey builds on the course History of the Middle East 2 (1500-present), but with its exclusive focus on modern Turkish history profoundly deepens the knowledge gained in this general course. The course History and Culture of Modern Turkey also forms the second part of a specialized track on Turkish history and culture from 1300 to the present day. The first part of this track is the course Ottoman History and Culture.

Turkey is always in the news. While Turkish foreign policy is deeply involved in the conflicts of the Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean, the growing authoritarian populism has disconcerting effects on society, economy, and culture of Turkey. Expertise on Turkey’s contemporary history, complex political affairs, and vibrant cultural life is sought after ever than before. This course offers a critical introduction to modern history, discussion of contemporary politics, and a view into social and cultural life of Turkey.

Course objectives

Students will be able to:

  • give an overview of the political history of modern Turkey in regards to themes of continuity and change;

  • assess the academic literature on a given theme and summarize its main paradigms and debates;

  • report on contemporary political and cultural developments in Turkey based on online research;

  • write a paper that answers a relevant research question through an assessment of secondary literature and use of primary sources and theory.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

Attendance and active participation are obligatory for seminars. Students are required to prepare for and attend all sessions. The convenors need to be informed without delay of any classes missed for a good reason (i.e. due to unforeseen circumstances such as illness, family issues, problems with residence permits, the Dutch railways in winter, etc.). In these cases it is up to the discretion of the convener(s) of the course whether or not the missed class will have to be made up with an extra assignment. The maximum of such absences during a semester is two. Being absent without notification and/or more than two times can result in exclusion from the term end exams and a failing grade for the course.

Assessment method

Students are expected to be familiar with Leiden University policies on plagiarism and academic integrity. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. If you submit any work with your name affixed to it, it is assumed to be your own work with all sources used properly indicated and documented in the text (with quotations and/or citations). It is also unacceptable for students to reuse portions of texts they had previously authored and have already received academic credit for on this or other courses. In such cases, students are welcome to self-cite so as to minimise overlap between prior and new work.
Students must submit their papers and assignments through Brightspace, so that they can be checked for plagiarism. Submission via email is not accepted.

Partial Assessment Weighing
the midterm assignment 25%
Preparation, assignments, and participation 25%
2500-word term paper 50%

The term paper must use one of the proper academic citation systems (Chicago style notes-bibliography preferred) and it must be authentic. The term paper must conform to the designated limit of 2,500 words. Plagiarism will be checked and automatically means failing the class.

The final mark for this course is determined by the weighted average. An additional requirement is that students must pass their term paper. In order to pass the course, students must obtain an overall mark of 5.50 (=6) or higher. Late submissions will result in a deduction of marks for the written assignment as follows: 1-24 hs late = -0.5; 24-48 hs late = -1.0; 48-72 hs late = -1.5; 72-96 hs late = -2.0. Submissions more than 96 hs late, including weekends, will receive a failing grade of 1,0 for the term paper.


A re-sit is available only to students whose mark on the term paper was insufficient (5.49 or lower). In such cases, the lecturer can assign the student a new topic for the final paper, and will set the re-sit deadline at least 10 working days after the fail grade has been issued.

Reading list

A list of weekly articles will be made available after the first session.


Through uSis


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office Vrieshof