Historical Contextualization of Religious and Intellectual Realities of Anatolia in the Seljuk and Mongol Period

Supervised by: Dr. Sara Nur Yıldız (visiting scholar)

Sponsored by: OII (post-doctoral fellowship, 2011 ̶ 2012)

The project “Historicizing the Religious and Intellectual Landscape of Seljuk and Mongol Anatolia” examines the religious landscape of medieval Anatolia. The following questions are addressed: Which forms of religiosity developed in the process of the Islamization of medieval Anatolia? How could Islamic communities emerge in the midst of a predominantly Christian population, despite the lack of an organized class of religious scholars? Which forms of Islamic religiosity and which communities and structures developed in this border region? How were Anatolian Islamic practices formed during the period of Mongol rule that followed the destruction of the Abbasid caliphate? In the absence of an influential religious class, the political elite played an important role in shaping the religious and intellectual landscape. The patronage from the elites, but also the relations between the sponsored religious institutions and personalities, on the one hand, and their patrons, on the other, contributed decisively to the dynamism of the tradition and the production of knowledge. To understand this dynamic, textual evidence is examined in the context of patron relations and the networks of scholars.