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History and Culture of Modern Turkey


Admission Requirements



The course History and Culture of Modern Turkey (1923-now) builds on the course Middle East History II, 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 (1923-now) 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 (1300-1922). The course History and Culture of Modern Turkey deals with a number of major issues that have determined the way modern Turkey has developed. The issues that are treated during the course are: the imperial legacy and nation-building, migration, the Cold War and European integration, the political landscape, the population explosion, women in society, ethnic and religious diversity, Islam and politics, old and new towns, the Atatürk-cult, the role of the army, the market and consumerism. An effort will be made to link history and culture or each of these themes, looking both at the major historical developments and their protagonists and at the cultural production (and consumption) that is associated with it.

The course is structured around twelve weekly thematic modules. For each of the modules the students are provided with a set of primary sources (texts as well as audio-visual material) and secondary literature (via Blackboard) as well as a set of questions. The questions are meant to guide the students in their critical reading of the texts. Each week two of the students together make a short (20 minute) presentation in which they link the literature to the primary texts and answer the questions that have been provided. Q&A and feedback on the form and content of the presentation make up the rest of the first 45 minutes. In the second 45 minute the theme of the week will be given an in-depth analysis by the teachers of the course. In this half one or more seminal academic studies about the particular topic will also be presented to the students.

Course objectives

Achieving a thorough knowledge of, and insight in, a number of major themes in the development of modern Turkey and a broad knowledge of the outlines of Turkish history in the 20th Century.


For the most recent update of the timetable click here

Mode of instruction


Students are expected to attend all classes, read the assigned material, expose themselves to the primary material, participate in the discussions and complete the assigned workload of the course. Students are expected to critically engage with the course material.

Assessment method

  • A mid-term exam (%25)

  • A final exam (%25)

  • Student Presentations in class (50 %)


Blackboard will be used for internal communication and the distribution of additional reading and/or source material.

Reading list

Students are expected to read any of the following versions of the course book (only Part II and Part III of all the versions) and the relevant readings for each week of the course.

  • E.J. Zürcher, Een geschiedenis van het moderne Turkije, Amsterdam: 2006.

  • E.J. Zürcher, Modernleşen Türkiye’nin Tarihi, İstanbul: 2012.

  • E.J. Zürcher, Turkey: a Modern History, London and New York 2003.


Through uSis

Registration for ‘A la carte’ and ‘contractonderwijs’

Registration A la Carte

Registration Contractonderwijs

Contact information

Prof. Dr. E.J. Zürcher
Emre Erol MA


Deze cursus is de Engelstalige variant van Modern Turkse Geschiedenis en Cultuur die niet meer in het Nederlands wordt aangeboden.

Students with disabilities

The university is committed to supporting and accommodating students with disabilities as stated in the university protocol (especially pages 3-5). Students should contact Fenestra Disability Centre at least four weeks before the start of their courses to ensure that all necessary academic accomodations can be made in time conform the abovementioned protocol.

Academic Integrity

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).