UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)


SEHI7008 The Balkans from Empires to Nation-States

PLEASE NOTE: This module will not be available in 2018-19

UCL Credits: 15

Total Learning Hours: 150

ECTS: 7.5

Level: Intermediate

Course Unit: 0.5

Term 2

Module Coordinator: Dr Diana Georgescu

Taught By: Dr Diana Georgescu

To find out more about this module, please contact the Module Coordinator

Weekly Contact Hours: 2.0 (2 hour lecture per week)
Prerequisites: None
Compulsory Module for: N/A

Summative Assessment

2 essays of 2500 words each.

Formative Assessment

To be confirmed

Module Outline

The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries were a time of economic change, intellectual development and political conflict in the Balkans, in which the Ottoman Empire experienced pressure from internal and external threats, and the Balkan peoples responded to the changing local, regional and international environment. This course combines a chronological and thematic approach, exploring the social, cultural, economic and political transformations of the period.  We will examine recent historiography on such topics as the Ottoman social and political system, conversion and Islamization, the place of the Orthodox church in the Ottoman system, provincial disorder and banditry, the views of western travellers to the Balkans, exemplary lives (including biographies and autobiographies), and the issue of Ottoman legacy in the Balkans. While the break-up of empires and the establishment of national states claiming to represent the Balkan nations is an important aspect of this story, the course also seeks to challenge a teleological narrative that assumes that nations and nationalism were always the most important categories of social and political life in the region.  

Indicative Texts

  • Mark Mazower, The Balkans (London, 2000) is a short interpretive essay covering a number of the issues dealt with in the course. 
  • Peter F. Sugar, South-eastern Europe under Ottoman Rule, 1354-1804 (Seattle, WA, 1977) gives an excellent summary of the starting point for this course: ‘Life in the European core provinces of the Ottoman Empire, 1413-1574,’ pp. 63-112; ‘The vassal and tribute-paying states’, pp. 113-186; and ‘Life in the European core provinces of the Ottoman Empire, 1574-1804’, pp. 187-208. On Ottoman legacy in the Balkans, try Edin Hajdarpašić, ‘Out of the ruins of the Ottoman Empire: Reflections on the Ottoman legacy in Southeastern Europe,’ Middle Eastern Studies 44:5 (2008): 715-734 (available electronically via Library catalogue) – this special issue on the Ottoman legacy has several other pertinent articles.



Course Code



Full Year AffiliatesRegister for SEHI7008As Above 7.5
Affiliates here for Terms 2 and 3 onlyRegister for SEHI7008As Above 7.5

Please note: This outline is accurate at the time of publication. Minor amendments may be made prior to the start of the academic year.