CfA: Ottoman and Turkish Studies at Central European University

posted by Amalia Kerekes on 2009/12/07 13:48

[ Call for Application ]

The Departments of History and Medieval Studies at Central European University (Budapest, Hungary) announce the introduction of courses in Ottoman and Turkish history, culture, and languages to their respective teaching and research offers.

Administered through the Departments of Medieval Studies and History, the curriculum in Ottoman and Turkish Studies at CEU draws on a wide range of graduate courses in early Islamic, Byzantine, Renaissance European, Habsburg, Russian, modern Balkan and Middle Eastern history which highlight the Departments’ particular strength in comparative history of empires from medieval to modern eras (see below for the list of sample courses and affiliated faculty). Taught by an international faculty with diverse disciplinary backgrounds and regional specializations, courses at CEU approach Ottoman history from an angle that neither privileges the perspective of the imperial center nor views the Ottoman past through the lenses of its numerous successor nation-states. Rather, the students are encouraged to think about the role of the empire’s many regions in the overall imperial system as well as these regions’ contribution to the articulation of the Ottoman ideology and culture over time. Moreover, the courses at CEU situate the study of the Ottoman Empire into the lager framework of medieval, early modern and modern history by exploring the Empire’s relationships to its predecessors (Byzantium, medieval Islamic states), contemporaries (especially Venice, the Habsburg and Russian Empires), and successors (in the Balkans, Turkey and the Middle East).

The curriculum in Ottoman and Turkish Studies at CEU combines empirical research and reflection on cutting-edge methodological and theoretical developments in social sciences and humanities with intensive language study. In academic year 2010/11 the University plans to debut its Source Language Center which will offer intensive courses in modern Turkish and Ottoman Turkish, Arabic, modern and classical Greek, Latin, and Russian, while Old Church Slavonic, Bulgarian, BCS (Bosnian, Croatian, and Serbian), Armenian and Hebrew might be offered according to the students’ needs. Graduate students interested in Ottoman and Turkish Studies at CEU would thus have an opportunity to learn not only the languages of the Ottoman administrative and literary sources but of the Empire’s diverse peoples as well.

In addition to offering an exciting combination of courses in Ottoman history and languages, CEU is also ideally placed for research in some of the premier archives and libraries in close proximity to the university (in Budapest, Vienna, Sofia, Sarajevo, etc.). Moreover, Hungary boasts of a long tradition in Ottoman and Oriental studies currently represented by a dynamic community of scholars and researchers at the Eötvös Loránd University, University of Szeged, the Historical Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and other local institutions.

Central European University is a graduate institution, accredited in both the USA and Europe, with faculty and students coming from over 100 countries ( There is no predominant national majority. CEU is committed to promoting merit, not privilege, and its unparalleled financial aid program has therefore always been extensive and generous – enabling equal opportunity for admission, regardless of income. With a 6:1 student/professor ratio and an extremely international group of students and faculty CEU provides an excellent forum for intense dialogue and exchange across cultural, linguistic, geographic and disciplinary boundaries. The language of instruction is English!

Application Information:
Students interested in Ottoman and Turkish Studies at CEU have a choice of applying to a One Year MA, Two Year MA or PhD. For research topics that focus on the period up to the end of the 17th century students are encouraged to apply to the Medieval Studies Department (, which will also offer an additional Specialization in Late Antique, Byzantine and Early Ottoman Studies. Those interested in later topics should apply to the History Department (
Applications are accepted through an on-line system at beginning on November 10, 2009 (all details on what an application package should include are described here). Candidates applying by January 25, 2010 are eligible to take the CEU-administered institutional Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Candidates who can provide evidence of proficiency in English or organize their own TOEFL examination may apply by March 15, 2010. Full fellowships and stipends are available!
For more information, please visit our website or contact Tijana Krstic ( or Tolga Esmer (

Sample courses:

  • Sources for Ottoman History (I-II)
  • The Ottomans and the Challenges of Building a Multi-Confessional Empire
  • Social Discontent and Rebellion in the Ottoman Empire
  • Islamic Borderlands
  • Constantinople/Istanbul
  • Islam in the Balkans
  • The Late Ottoman Empire and Balkan Nationalism: The View from Istanbul
  • Topics in modern Balkan History
  • Ottoman Istanbul and Arab Provincial Capitals
  • Secularism and Islam - Comparative Perspectives and Case Studies
  • Imperial Order and Nationalism in Contiguous Empires
  • The Ottomans and Europeans in the Early Modern Era
  • Religious Conversion in the Early Modern Mediterranean
  • From Empire to Republic

Associated CEU Faculty:

  • Aziz al-Azmeh (Medieval Studies) - Islam, historical anthropology
  • Nadia al-Bagdadi (History, Director of the Religious Studies Program) - Islamic Studies, Middle Eastern Studies, History and Culture of the Late Ottoman Empire, Comparative Religion
  • Tolga Esmer (History) - social and cultural history of the Ottoman Empire (18th-19th centuries); rebellion and social discontent in the Ottoman Empire; Islamic frontiers and borderlands; modern Middle Eastern and Balkan history; modern Turkey
  • Niels Gaul (Medieval Studies, Director of the Center for Hellenic Studies) - Late Byzantine history, Greek paleography and Byzantine manuscript studies
  • András Gerö (History, Director of the Institute of Habsburg Studies) - history of the Habsburg Empire
  • Constantin Iordachi (History, Head of the Department of History) - modern history of Southeast Europe; transition from the Ottoman Empire to nation states in the Balkans
  • Tijana Krstic (Medieval Studies)—social and cultural history of the Ottoman Empire, 14th-17th centuries (especially Ottoman historiography; Ottoman Islam; inter-confessional relations); early modern imperial encounters in Central Europe and the Mediterranean
  • Michael Miller (Nationalism Studies Program; Jewish Studies Program) - Jewish and Central European History; impact of nationality conflicts on the religious, cultural and political development of Central European Jewry in the nineteenth century
  • István Perczel (Medieval Studies) - Byzantine history and philosophy
  • Carsten Wilke (History, Medieval Studies, Jewish Studies Program) - intellectual and cultural history of European Jewry; medieval Jewish mysticism, Jewish-Christian relations, Iberian crypto-Judaism, 19th century religious modernization.
  • Balázs Trencsényi (History) - intellectual history, nationalism, East Central Europe, history of political thought
  • Selim Deringil (recurrent visiting professor, Nationalism Studies) - cultural and intellectual history of the late Ottoman Empire; religious conversion and apostasy in the late Ottoman Empire; comparative themes in Ottoman/European history
  • Roumen Daskalov (recurrent visiting professor, History) - Modernization of the Balkans, Cultural and Social History of Modern Eastern Europe, Anthropological Theories of Culture


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