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Modern Middle Eastern history: 1500-1920

This course provides an overview of the modern history of the Middle East, from the decline of the Abbassid and Seljuk emirates to the Rise of the Ottoman Empire until the end of World War I.

It adopts both a chronological and a thematic perspective, in order to outline the most relevant dynamics that the regions included in the expansion of the Ottoman Empire, with a particular focus on political and legal structures, socio-economic transformations and relations with emerging European empires such as Russia, the Habsburgs, Portugal, Britain, France, Italy, Sweden and the Netherlands.

The purpose is to enable the students to outline regional dynamics within the Middle East over the course of the six centuries the Ottoman Empire reigned supreme in the Balkans, North Africa, Arabia, and Western Asia. In this respect, the course must also link the Middle East and North Africa to other regions in the larger Eurasian region and adopt a global perspective. This course will also help students understand the emergence of the two other great Muslim powers of the era, the Safavids and Mughal Empires.

At the same time, the emergence of the Middle East as both a geopolitical concept and a field of studies will be discussed in a sociocultural context shaped by European imperialism and discuss the intellectual implications by way of consulting major works critiquing orientalism within the field of post-colonial studies. This will enable the students to develop a critical overview of their field of studies, its historical formation, and its current limitations as they include or ignore this critical era in the region’s modern history.

This is an online distance course. Instruction is in English.

  • Course structure


    The course consists of a module that comprises 7.5 credits.

    Teaching format

    The teaching consists of lectures and seminars. Attendance at all classes is mandatory. The teaching takes place in Swedish and/or English according to the indication for each occasion for the course.


    The course is examined through a digital assessment with multiple choice questions.

    The language of examination, Swedish or English, will be the language stated for the respective course instance.

    For more detailed information please refer to the course description.


    Isa Blumi

  • Schedule

    The schedule will be available no later than one month before the start of the course. We do not recommend print-outs as changes can occur. At the start of the course, your department will advise where you can find your schedule during the course.
  • Course literature

    Note that the course literature can be changed up to two months before the start of the course.
  • Course reports

  • Contact

    Do you have questions about the courses in Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures?

    Student Councelor:

    Student Director:
    Martin Säfström
    Phone: 08-16 29 43