History of the Islamic World: 1453 - 1800
In this course we will examine the history of the Islamic World during the Early Modern period. This era is sometimes called the 'Age of Gunpowder Empires,’ because it was marked by the rise of three mighty and advanced Islamic states in Turkey, Iran and India
We will consider the period from three perspectives.
First, we will dig into the history of the Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal Empires themselves—tracking their fates across the span of 350 years, from the fall of Constantinople in 1453, through the emergence of modern European imperialism at the end of the eighteenth century.
Second, our course will move beyond the high-politics of great empires to examine the richer tapestry of Islamic society and culture. As part of this process, we will engage with a range of primary sources that will serve to humanize this history—reminding us that, at core, history is not about states and wars, but about people.
Finally, as we look at Islamic empires and societies, we will also consider how the Islamic world of this period both shaped, and was shaped by, the contours of global history, and at how this period in history still resonates in our modern world today.
The course will be entirely asynchronous. Lectures will be recorded, and students will participate in asynchronous engagement via discussion boards.
Textbook: Stephen Dale, Muslim Empires of the Ottomans, Safavids, and Mughals (2010).
Additional readings made available via Canvas.
Optional W credit available.