nl en

The Ottoman Empire and Europe


Admission requirements

Admission to the MA Middle Eastern Studies or to the MA Middle Eastern Studies (research). Students who are interested in taking this course, but who are not admitted to one of the mentioned master programmes are requested to contact one of the convenors, dr. J. Schmidt or
dr. H.P.A. Theunissen.


The weekly seminars concentrate on the historical development of relations diplomatic and otherwise between the Ottoman Empire and the European Powers. Special attention is paid to scholarly and cultural contacts and reciprocal influences between the West and the Islamic Middle East. The perception of the “other” in the two cultural zones are central to the discussions. Emphasis is laid on the interpretation of travel literature in its widest sense as produced both in Europe and the Ottoman Empire. Concomitant topics are political, military, commercial, diplomatic and cultural relations between European states and the Ottoman Empire and their development in time. The bilateral character of these relations is emphasised, and an Ottoman-centred approach – instead of the more common European-centred one – adopted.

Course objectives


For the most recent update of the timetable please click here.

Mode of instruction

Participants are required to read approximately 150 pages of text per week. This includes both travelogues and related texts, one item of which is taken as a focus of attention each week, as well as (parts of) selected specialists’ works and scholarly articles. During each session students are required to give (power point) presentations of their views on one selected topic of discussion, based on the sources studied for that week. In conclusion, students are expected to write a 5000-word essay on a subject related to one of the themes central to the seminar.


Attendance of the classes is obligatory.

Assessment method

The final mark of this course will be composed of the following elements:

  • Active participation in group discussions and presentations (40%)

  • 5000-word essay (term paper) (60%)

Students who earn a mark lower than 6 out of 10 owing to insufficient participation, including the presentations, will have to sit a written examination on the subjects discussed during the course. The result will contribute 50% to the final mark.


Not applicable.

Reading list

Required reading:
A reader with secondary literature for required reading will be made available at the beginning of the course.


Via uSis

Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website for information on how to apply.

Contact information

Dr. J. Schmidt or
dr. H.P.A. Theunissen