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NEAR E 270 A: The Turks: A Global Perspective

Meeting Time: 
TTh 1:30pm - 3:20pm
DEN 159
Joint Sections: 
HSTCMP 290 D, JSIS 487 B, ANTH 269 A, NEAR E 558 A, JSIS D 572 A, ANTH 522 A
Talant Mawkanuli
Talant Mawkanuli

Syllabus Description:

NEAR E 270 :: Spring 2019 :: TTh 1:30 to 3:20, GWEN (GWN) 201

Instructors: Talant Mawkanuli and Selim Sirri Kuru :: Denny 241 :: Phone: 206-543-6033

Office Hours: TTh 11:00-12:00 or by appointment


Turkic communities, speaking more than 36 languages, are found almost all parts of the world. Identifying inner Asia as their original homeland, Turks moved towards East and West and established nomadic or sedentary empires into the heart of Europe. Today in six Turkic nation states, various autonomous regions as well as in diaspora communities, there are around 160 million Turkic speakers in the world. Constantly in flux and development, Turks live in touch with various cultures, representing one of the most diverse ethnic people with unique cultural aspects that distinguish them.


This course is an introduction to the intertwined and variegated histories and cultures of the Turks in the global age. It charts their movement across Siberia, Central Asia, the Middle East, and Europe; their connections with different empires and kingdoms, states, and religions; and their cultural exchange with neighboring peoples (Chinese, Mongols, Persians, Arabs, Greeks, and others). At various times the Turks have built vast empires; Turkic dynasties ruled for generations in places as far-flung as China, Central Asia, Russia, and the Middle East.

We will explore the origins of the Turks and some of the distinctive features of Turkic societies in different times and places, as well as how diverse communities across Eurasia responded to the rise of Turk power. In addition to historical documents, we will also explore the varied material culture of the Turks, especially inscriptions, religious paintings, and manuscripts. We will examine topics such as ecological adaptation and the environment; the unique diversity of Turkic people that has developed through the migrations of the Turks and their interactions with other peoples; the conquest and governance of empires; economics; ethnicity, language and cultural identity; religious beliefs and practices; and literature and the arts. We will also examine how Turkic-speaking nations influence present-day discussions on politics, diplomacy, and globalization.

No special knowledge of the region on the part of students is presumed. The course will consist of lectures, reading assignments, and will make extensive use of films and other audio-visual materials.



By the conclusion of this course students will:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the geography, environment, and history of Eurasia;
  • Become familiar with the richness and the cultural diversity of the Turkic-speaking world;
  • Examine historical development through the lens of interdisciplinary critical analysis;
  • Do critical reading of historical sources and evaluate competing historical arguments in context;
  • Develop the ability to think analytically and empathetically about Turks and the Islamic world; and
  • Acquire a broad understanding of globalization, informed by historical developments and cross-cultural exchange.

Course Requirements:

Lectures: Students active participation during each class period is expected. Class participation is also key to your success. Lectures will provide the broad social and cultural context, allowing students to effectively analyze and interpret the readings on specific topics. You should come to class having prepared the readings; that is, having completed them and having noted the main arguments, their relation to other readings, as well as any questions or disagreements you MAY have regarding them.

Discussion Sections: This course will emphasize interaction and collaborative learning and will make extensive use of class discussions, along with lectures and films. Sections are an essential part of this course and students are expected to be actively involved in the sections. In discussion sections new primary sources will be introduced and you will discuss the materials and learn how to analyze those sources, and learn how to construct your own historical arguments. 

Participation to lectures and section will be required non-participation will affect a student’s participation grade. In case of emergency, please notify the instructors before class. More than one unexcused missing quiz section participation will result in a lower grade. You are encouraged to visit me during office hours if you need any additional assistance.

Discussion Posting: Writing is a process and a tool which will help you clarify your thinking and sharpen your analytic skills.  It is not a mere product of already formulated ideas; for this reason, students will post at least 4 responses to the course readings throughout the quarter. Your comments should address the week’s assigned readings and respond to the posted questions or prompts with thoughtful comments/feedback. Each posting should be at least one short paragraphs (200 words) and should be posted to the class Canvas site the day before the class when the readings will be discussed (by midnight). All students should read the posted responses and add comments and questions to the thread as preparation for class. You are expected to read the posts before coming to class.

Midterm and Final exam: The midterm and final examination will consist of map questions, multiple choice and key words and major themes.  At the end of each of the major sections of the course, a review sheet will be posted on the course website which makes note of the major concepts and terms we discussed in that section of the course. On the beginning of the fifth week, you will receive a final review sheet to help you prepare for the midterm, and on the last week for the final exam.


Required Readings:

The following books are required reading for this course and these books can be purchased at the UW University bookstore or online

 Required readings:

  1. Carter Findley, The Turks in World History, Oxford University Press, 2005.
  2. Short weekly assignments

Recommended readings:

  1. Scott Levi and Ron Sla, eds. Islamic Central Asia: An Anthology of Historical Sources, Indiana University Press 2010.
  2. James Millward, The Silk Road: A very short introduction, Oxford University Press 2013.
  3. Peter Golden, Central Asia in World History, Oxford University Press, 2010.
  4. David Roxburgh, ed. Turks: a journey of thousand years, 600-1600 Second edition. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2010.

Throughout the quarter we will post supplementary articles on Canvas course website under “Reading”. These readings will be posted at least one week in advance and will be available as PDF documents.



Throughout the quarter, we will watch several films (in part or in their entirety) and they are required material for the class. All films listed, or portions of them, are required and will be on the quizzes and in papers. Some are required to be viewed prior to class meetings, as noted week by week below. I will refer to them in lecture and you are encouraged to discuss them in discussion sessions.


Class assignments and grading:



Quizzes, Participation


Reading Response Papers (4)


Mid-term in-class exam


Final take-home exam


Make-ups: Missed assignments MAY not made up without permission of the instructors. Make-up exams offered only in cases of documented illness or other extraordinary circumstances. If you need to request an extension on a paper or an alternate exam date, you must arrange it with the instructors before the due date or exam date.


Grading Scale

The following UW grading scale will be used:

100-98%          = 4.0

97-96%            = 3.9

95-94%            = 3.8

93-92%            = 3.7

91%                 = 3.6

90-89%            = 3.5

88-87%            = 3.4

86%                 = 3.3

85%                 = 3.2

84%                 = 3.1

83%                 = 3.0

82%                 = 2.9


81%     = 2.8

80%     = 2.7

79%     = 2.6

78%     = 2.5

77%     = 2.4

76%     = 2.3

75%     = 2.2

74%     = 2.1

73%     = 2.0

72%     = 1.9

71%     = 1.8

70%     = 1.7


69%     = 1.6

68%     = 1.5

67%     = 1.4

65%     = 1.2

64%     = 1.1

63%     = 1.0

62%     = 0.9

61%     = 0.8

60%     = 0.7

£ 59% = 0.0

Syllabus change:

This syllabus is subject to change at any time. Some reading assignments MAY change in the syllabus during the quarter and the instructor reserves the right to change the syllabus. It is your responsibility to adapt to any such changes.


Course Policies:

Missed Classes:

Should a student miss a class, it is the student’s responsibility to acquire any necessary material or information to make up the work.  Faculty members are unable to hold one on one lectures of the course content.  Students should arrange absences with faculty in advance or contact faculty immediate following an unscheduled absence.  Missed class sessions subsequently effect class participation and possibly overall grades.


Academic Honesty:

Students enrolled in UW courses are expected to observe the code of academic honesty required of University of Washington students. Violation of this code can result in various penalties, including a failing grade in the course and, in some cases, disciplinary actions. Instances of academic dishonesty for credit courses will be handled by the University of Washington Committee on Academic Conduct. Instances of academic dishonesty for noncredit courses will be handled by an internal University of Washington Extension Committee on Academic Conduct. Academic dishonesty includes plagiarism, defined as offering the language or ideas of someone else as one's own. Plagiarism MAY range from failure to credit isolated formulas, sentences or paragraphs to copying entire articles from books, periodicals, speeches or writing of other students. If evidence of academic misconduct is established, students will be given a failing grade for the course and any refund of tuition fees will be denied.

More information on academic honestly can be found here:


Disability Accommodations:

The University of Washington is committed to providing access, and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, education and employment for individuals with disabilities. To request disability accommodation, contact the Disability Services Office immediately at:

206-543-6450 (voice)

206-543-6452 (TTY)

206-685-7264 (fax)


Catalog Description: 
Introduction to the history of the Turks, as a distinctive cultural and linguistic community set against a global backdrop. Examines the rich experiences of Turk history, and their interactions with peoples and cultures across Asia, the Middle East, and Europe.
GE Requirements: 
Individuals and Societies (I&S)
Last updated: 
August 2, 2019 - 9:21pm