Course: Europe and the Middle East: State and Society, 1453-1945

HC 232H

Professor: Vera Keller

The public sphere, a mediator between state and society, has often been seen as a key feature of modernity. The idea of the public sphere emerged from the study of European history. Our comparative perspective will aid us in judging whether this concept pertains to other regions. Through a study of primary texts, material culture, and historiography, we will explore how notions of the public and the private developed in different but linked ways in Europe and the Ottoman Empire. We will analyze the repercussions of these developments for ideas of ethnicity, diversity, and nationality. We will ask such questions as: Did the public sphere exclude women? Did it require print? What were the spaces for public life? How was public opinion made known and what role did it play in politics? This course includes intensive writing, seminar discussion, and oral presentations.