The last phase of the Ottoman empire has long been viewed by Orientalists and Middle East nationalists as a period of inevitable decline. More recently, cultural historians of the Middle East have framed the long 19th. century as a period of grand reforms - or Tanzimat. This course seeks to critically examine the notions of reform of the state and reform of the individual between Sultan Mahmud IIs accession and the defeat of the Ottoman empire in World War I. Focusing largely on Istanbul and the Ottoman capitals political relations with the Arab provinces, we will relate economic, social and intellectual transformations to state laws and policies, Mediterranean capitalism and the rise of sectarianism and nationalism in the Middle East.