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UCI EUROST 10 - Early Modern Europe

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Professor Smith European Studies Department Europe Studies 10 European History Course Code: 24000 ● Early Modern Europe ○ Encounters with the Islamic World (Ottoman Empire) ● Three Major Concepts ○ “Ideology” ○ From Marxist theory: the masking of (economic) power structures by cultural means; the “naturalization” of historical developments ○ For example? ■ The suffering of the peasants of the Campagna is legitimated by ideas about their place in the universe… ○ “Dialectic of Enlightenment” ○ Dialectic involves the relationship between opposites ■ How one idea can flip into its opposite even as (because) it insists on its difference ● Examples? ○ A narrow form of (scientific reason) that rejects the validity of other ways of thinking can itself become dogmatic ○ “Scientific revolutions as paradigm shifts” ○ Standard view of science is that theories are “additive” or cumulative ○ Instead, Thomas S. Kuhn argues there are periods of “normal science” (agreement over basic aspects of a discipline), “crises” (when anomalies emerge) and “revolutions” (when there is a “paradigm shift” to a new way of viewing the world) ○ How to make the “leap” into a new paradigm? ● Turning our gaze eastward… ○ The review essay dealing with three books on the Ottoman Empire gives example modes of history-writing (“historiography”) ○ It allows you to see what scholarship in history, and evaluation of such scholarship look like ● Important points ○ “Cultural history” (largely this course) vs. military history, economic history, social history, ecological history… ○ New trend in history: transnational/global approaches (also like “European Studies”) ○ For example, “the mediterranean” ○ Contemporary situation and events shape what we see in the past ● “Hermeneutics” ○ From “Hermes”, the Greek god of messages (latin, Mercury) ○ The art or science of interpretation and understanding ○ For example, biblical or legal or literary hermeneutics○ One basic principle is that all interpretation of some (past) object emerges from a specific “horizon” in the present ● For Example ○ The rise of movements for women’s and gay rights in the late 1960s and 1970s brought a wave of history investigating (“discovering”) the role of gender and sexuality in the past ○ What about European views of Ottomans/Turks ○ We see in Rembrandt’s paintings the way a fascination with things Turkish could yield highly marketable products in the Netherlands ■ In fact, we’ll see that in some ways the Dutch in the 17th century had much in common with the Ottoman Turks (keen traders and business people) ○ “Exotic” but not negative… ○ If Europeans turned west across the Atlantic ■ (1) to establish colonies, overwhelming the native populations (also through diseases) and ■ (2) to establish the slave trade, capturing and transporting 10’s of millions of Africans ■ Looking east they saw a different culture… ● Rosemary Lee ○ “In the early modern period, however, European orientalism was an attempt to come to terms with a dynamic and flourishing empire expanding rapidly through Central Europe: an empire that could not be ignored, excused, or dominated” ● Recall… ○ “I once read that Abdala the Muslim, when asked what was most worthy of awe and wonder in this theater of the world, answered, “there is nothing to see more wonderful than man!”” ■ Pico della Mirandola, “Oration on the Dignity of Man” ● According to Rosemary Lee… ○ ...the author of a chapter in one of the books she reviews says that in the Early Modern period, “Islam was good to think with” ● Where else… ○ ...have we seen someone praise and learn from the turks? ○ Machiavelli… ○ Luther in a kind of back-handed way… (even the Turks are more pious than the Catholics in Rome...) ○ And where else have we seen the significant impact of Islamic culture on developments in Europe? ○ Al Hazen’s contributions to the geometry of linear perspective in Renaissance art… ○ The key point to consider when engaging with Early Modern responses to the Ottoman Empire (the “East”, “Orient”) is: it’s often more about what’s going on in the “West” that motivates the depiction of the “East” than an accurate representation ○ This will be important to consider as you engage with the primary documents● Why Early Modern Europe and Islam (the Ottoman Empire) in this class? ○ If we need to study Early Modern Europe to understand the origins of our (modern) world, then we need to study the interactions with the Ottoman Empire, which were significant in that period ○ That is, the interaction with Islam is one of the founding features of the “West’s” modernity! ○ This historical argument is somewhat dialectical: the opposition, West/East, is undetermined looking at the history ○ We can only scratch the surface ○ ...the early modern period has a different relationship and response to its encounter with the Ottoman Empire than did Europe in the modern period (19th century, and today) ● What motivates us? What is our “hermeneutic horizon” ○ 1992 lecture ○ 1993 article in Foreign Affairs ○ 1996 appeared as book ○ The first world trade center attack in the basement parking lot, February 26, 1993 ○ 7 fatalities, over 1,000 injuries ○ Muslim terrorists were caught and convicted in 1994 ● Huntington’s Thesis ○ “It is my hypothesis that the fundamental source of conflict in this new world will not be primarily ideological or primarily economic. The great divisions among humankind and the dominating source of conflict will be cultural. Nation states will remain the most powerful actors in world affairs, but the principal conflicts of global politics will occur between nations and groups of different civilizations. The clash of civilizations will dominate global politics. The fault lines between civilizations will be the battle lines of the future” ○ The point of looking back to the Early Modern period is to show that despite the existence of two competing empires (the HRE and the Ottomans), their relationship cannot and should not be reduced to a “clash of civilizations” ○ I want us to get beyond such oppositional thinking, which often covers up much more complex interactions ● But also a

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