HIST 335 The Gunpowder Empires of the Islamic World, ca. 1450-1800
The course focuses on the so-called gunpowder empires of the Islamic world of the early modern era, i.e. the Ottoman Empire, Mughal India and Safavid Iran. As part of a universal trend, it was this age when much of the current territorial, confessional, political, social and cultural boundaries dividing the Islamic world were set up. The course consists of three units. After an introduction, first it focuses on the political history of these polities, compares them with each other from various aspects, including religion, administration, the military, economy, trade, the role of and attitude to minorities, as well as various facets of culture. Lastly it revisits these issues by way of a critique of decline narratives related to the Islamic World. It discusses Ottoman, Safavid and Mughal history not only as comparative but also as connected phenomena.