MØNA2503 – Modern Turkey: Politics, Cultures, People

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

This course provides a survey of the revolutions and evolutions, thoughts and thinkers, cultures and institutions, and rulers and resisters that made Turkey the country it is today. Emphasis will be placed on how attempts to save the Ottoman Empire shaped a Turkish republican elite who made the nation-state of Turkey in their image. Furthermore, it will deal with how the legacy of the Kemalist reforms of the 1920s and 1930s was challenged and reconfigured by the proliferation and radicalization of political ideologies and religious and ethnic identities during the Cold War, and how the troubled liberalisation period of the 1980s and 1990s culminated in the rise and consolidation of the AK Parti in recent years. In addition to interactions between between major institutional players—in particular political parties and the Army — we will pay attention to how political and economic reforms have been adopted, adapted or rejected by the society they were meant to transform.

Learning outcome

The primary objective of the course is to familiarize the students with the main political developments in modern Turkish history and to realize that the historical and social complexities cannot be reduced to a matter of Westernisation. The secondary objective is to provide them a historical perspective in order to render their own political analyses of the Turkish political system.

After having followed this course, you will have:

  • gained familiarity with the main developments and personalities of Turkish history
  • acquired a grasp of historiographical and social-scientific approaches to explaining the emergence and development of modern Turkey
  • acquired the knowledge and tools you need to understand Turkish society today


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.


Recommended previous knowledge

A good knowledge of English is recommended.

Overlapping courses

The student is responsible for making sure that the course content does not overlap with other courses the student has already received credit for.


Autumn 2020: Teaching will follow the guidelines for preventing the spread of Covid-19.

The detailed schedule for the semester shows what activities are digital.

There will not be a requirement for compulsory attendance for teaching which is done digitally, but we strongly recommend that you follow all the teaching.

Lectures and seminars

  • Lectures: 2 hours a week
  • Seminars: 3 seminars throughout the semester

The lectures will focus on narrating and discussing various aspects of the history and historiography of Turkey, while the seminars will be based on group discussions of selected readings from the syllabus. Seminar attendance is not mandatory but is highly recommended.

Compulsory activities

  • Reflection paper
  • Proposal paper

All students must submit one reflection paper and one proposal paper for the semester assignment essay based on the syllabus texts in the course of the term. Each reflection paper should be a small ‘book review’ of a single syllabus text, excluding the two books, and should not exceed one A4 page. In the papers, the students will give a brief summary of the content of the text, consider how the text relates to the literature on the subject in general, and give a very brief evaluation of how the text contributes to the understanding of Turkish history. 

More information about the reflection papers and the deadlines will be given during class and in Canvas. You must submit the reflection papers within the given deadlines, and you are responsible for familiarizing yourself with the requirements for the compulsory activities.

Valid absence

If you have valid absence from the compulsory activities, you must submit an application and hand in documentation. 

This is how you apply for valid absence from compulsory activities.


Semester assignment essay.

You must fulfill the requirements of compulsory activities in order to qualify for taking the exam.

Previous exam questions and criterias of assessment.

Digital examination

The written examination is conducted in the digital examination system Inspera. You will need to familiarize yourself with the digital examination arrangements in Inspera.

Read more about written examinations using Inspera.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English and Norwegian, and you may submit your response in English, Norwegian or another Scandinavian language.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Periodisk evaluering av MØNA2503

Facts about this course






Every autumn


Every autumn

Teaching language