Skip to main content
more options

The Eastern Question

Department Prefix: 
Department Name: 
H. Case
Crosslisted as: 
JWST 4621, NES 4621
The so-called "Eastern Question" was the primary preoccupation of international relations during the "long" nineteenth century. What was the Eastern Question? Essentially it was the question of how Southeastern Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean (then under Ottoman rule) should be governed. Should the Ottomans maintain their control over these areas, or should new nation-states (Greece, Bulgaria, Egypt, etc.) take the place of the "sick man of Europe" (the Ottoman Empire)? The Eastern Question thus encompassed not only diplomatic history, but also raised issues for culture, region, politics, and even science. This course examines the various approaches to the Eastern Question in historical perspective. Readings will be mostly from period sources, as some of the most prominent figures of the time were fascinated by the Eastern Question, individuals like Napoleon, Karl Marx, Benjamin Disraeli, Lord Palmerston, and Leopold von Ranke. The Eastern Question was also the subject of a great deal of cultural production (poetry, novels, music) which we will examine together with other texts.