What is the course about?
This course will provide students with an introduction to archaeology in the Ottoman Empire from the 18th to the early 20th century. An overview of the political history of the Ottoman Empire will provide the background to exploring the importance of the remote past in the construction of empire and nation in the Ottoman and Western public imagination. We will look at both Ottoman and Western museums and their role in collecting the past and the importance of the Classical and Biblical heritage in presenting archaeology to a wider readership.
What will we cover?
- The Ottoman Empire and the Western Powers, 1750–1923
- The Classical and Biblical past in the public imagination
- Travel, exploration and archaeology in the Middle East
- Archaeology and the public imagination; books, newspapers and illustrated magazines
- Collecting the past: museums and archaeology in the Ottoman Empire and the West
- Imperial competition: French, American, Ottoman and German projects.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
At the end of the course students can expect to have an overview of the development of archaeology in the Ottoman Empire. They will be able to understand the close connection between archaeology and imperial politics in the period covered and will have gained an overview of how archaeology and the ancient past have influenced the building of nations and the dissolution of empires.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This is an ‘introductory’ course and does not assume any previous study or reading although you will need a good grasp of English to keep up with the course. You will gain more from the course, in terms of enjoyment and learning, if you are able and willing to do some supplementary reading. As with most of our history and current affairs courses, an open mind and a willingness to listen to and think about views with which you do not always agree are more important than specific levels of skills.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
A mixture of lecture, Q & A, source work using primary and secondary sources, pair/group and class discussion. A comprehensive bibliography will be given at the beginning of the course. Also (brief) reading materials will be given at the end of the session. Please note that supplementary reading is not a course requirement, but you will get more out of the course if you do some extra reading.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
A list of recommended reading material and recommended websites will be provided, but this is optional. Please bring pen and paper.
General recommended reading:
Bahrani, Zainab, Zeynep. Çelik, Edhem. Eldem (eds.) Scramble for the past: A Story of Archaeology in the Ottoman Empire, 1753-–1914. Istanbul: SALT, 2011.
Fagan, Brian M. Return to Babylon: Travelers, Archaeologists, and Monuments in Mesopotamia, Rev. ed. University Press of Colorado, 2007.
Faroqhi, S. (ed.). The Cambridge History of Turkey. Volume 3. The Later Ottoman Empire, 1603–1839. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006.
Kasaba, R. (ed.). The Cambridge History of Turkey. Volume 4, Turkey in the Modern World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008.
Shaw, Wendy M. K. Possessors and Possessed. Museums, Archaeology, and the Visualization of History in the Late Ottoman Empire. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
General information and advice on courses at City Lit is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details