The Religious History of Anatolia

The Religious History of Anatolia 2018-06-22T16:34:42+00:00

The Religious History of Anatolia

Supervised by: Prof. Dr. Raoul Motika and PD Dr. Robert Langer

Duration: Since 2011

The religious history of Anatolia as a field of research consists of a previously loose association of research areas of both historical and contemporary relevance and those that deal with different phenomena of Anatolian religious history across disciplinary boundaries. There are three primary aspects: religious practices, religious change, and border crossings (both geographically and ideologically).

Shiites and Shiite religious practice in Turkey

Supervised by: PD Dr. Robert Langer

Duration: 2017–2020

The research project is dedicated to the phenomenon of Shiite religiosity in Turkey, which has yet to be comprehensively documented and analyzed. Expanding on the research on Shiites in Germany and on Alevis and other marginalized religious groups of Islamic tradition in a transnational context, the project will explore the specificity and diversity of Shiite discourses and practices in Turkey on the basis of a survey of Shiite actors, organizations, and communities of practice. Questions are asked about internal diversity (Azeris, Iranians, converted Sunnis, and Alevis) and transnational connections with the historical main settlement areas of Shiite populations (Iran, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Lebanon, etc.) and about European diaspora communities (especially in Germany). Of particular relevance is the role Shia Islam and Shiite identity constructions play in the religious dispositive and in the institutionalization of religion (i.e.  Islam) in Turkey within the framework of state religious policy. The insights gained compared to previous investigations primarily lie in the intended approach via “communities of practice” and in the documentation and analysis of various ritual transfer processes. The materialization of religious repertoires in iconography and the utilized inventory of texts will also be examined. The methodological tool of ritual dynamic performance analysis and the communities of practice concept are to be applied in the course of ethnological field research. Analogous to other Shiite contexts, a diverse religious domain can also be assumed in Turkey. Here, dynamics can be expected in religious (doctrinally variegated) and (identity-) political areas (e.g. different degrees of state proximity or distance), which manifest in cultural performances and religious rituals. In this context, the lively dispute extending from London to Iran over the bloody or bloodless execution of mourning rituals is only one striking example. The aim of the research is to identify a representative spectrum of different communities of practice, which highlights the various recourses taken to a worldwide repertoire of Shiite practices and materialities (iconography and textual representations).

Circulation, Adaptation, and Invention: Religious Change in Anatolia at the Intersection of Continents and Cultures

Responsible: Raoul Motika

Duration: since 2015

Main cooperation partners: German Archaeological Institute, Istanbul Department (DAI Istanbul); Center for Religious Studies CERES, Ruhr University Bochum

In Research Field 2, “Religious History of Anatolia,” the Orient-Institut Istanbul is organizing a major project with the Deutsche Archäologische Institut, Abteilung Istanbul (DAI Istanbul), as well as several other German, Turkish, and international partners with the working title “Circulation, Adaption, and Invention: Religious Change in Anatolia at the Intersection of Continents and Cultures.” The aim is to establish a Maria Sibylla Merian Center with funding from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). Focusing on Anatolia to examine the origins, transfers, and transformations of religions. The project is expected to be the world’s largest research project on the history of religions. Consequently, not only would an innovative thematic field be a permanent part of the Institute over the long term, but it would also enable an unprecedented degree of cooperation between representatives of archaeology, humanities, and the social sciences. Such a large-scale, faith-neutral project with research based on criteria from modern religious studies would serve as a model for Turkey.

The preparatory work (which began in 2014) included the active participation of the OII in the biannual workshops of a network of the DAI Istanbul on the theme “Nature and Cult in Anatolia” (2013–2016). Since 2015, cooperation with the DAI Istanbul has greatly intensified, especially regarding the planned Maria Sibylla Merian Center. For this purpose, five preparatory international consortium meetings were held, including a regional workshop each at the DAI Istanbul and the Center for Religious Studies (CERES) of the Ruhr-University Bochum, as well as numerous smaller meetings at the OII. A first detailed project outline was already drawn up and widely discussed in 2015, and its substance was further developed in 2016. The decision was made to set up working groups in 2017, including one on the digital humanities (DH). To develop a concept in this regard, the first workshop was held in Bochum in October 2016. In 2017, an initial DH concept for a digital working platform for the international cooperation project will be developed by the OII, supported by the branch office of the Max Weber Foundation, together with the DAI at its Berlin headquarters.

In addition, a proposal on the history of Islamic theology at the university level in Turkey, based on scholarly biographies and the example of Marmara University, will be submitted to the DFG in 2017.

New Religiosities in Turkey: “Reenchantment” in a Secular Muslim Country?

Supervised by: Dr. Alexandre Toumarkine

Collaborator: Till Luge, MA

Duration: 2011 ̶ 2017

Main collaborator: Prof. Dr. Nathalie Clayer (Centre d’Études Turques, Ottomanes, Balkaniques et Centrasiatiques (CETOBaC), EHESS, Paris)

Since February 2014, supported by: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) and Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR)

The research focus of the project is new religiosities in the late Ottoman Empire and the Turkish Republic. Under “new religiosities,” we understand phenomena connected with New Age practices or movements, new forms of Western, Ottoman or Turkish esotericism and spirituality, and millenarianism, but also with practices and religious ideas relating to South and East Asian religions like Hinduism or Buddhism. These new religiosities generally share new human and self-conceptions and also new types of body awareness. These processes of religious change take place in the context of socio-economic and political developments, which are influenced by phenomena of globalization such as new forms of communication and worldwide mobility. The aim of the project is to study these processes of change in a predominantly Muslim country. Here, however, not only are global influences to be determined, but also local continuities in the emergence of new religiosities. This cultural-religious transformation of high and late modernity has hardly been studied for the Islamic world. Thus, the project not only takes a pioneering role, but represents the first attempt to explore and interpret the variety of primary sources and sociological and ethnographic realities of new religiosities in the Islamic world using the example of Turkey.

In Europe, the “reenchantment” of the early modern period was mainly associated with the reception of Indian religions. Although this is not the case in Turkey to the same degree, Indian religions also play an important role, both in engagement with non-Abrahamic religions from the end of the 19th century and in the popularization of New Age since the 1960s. We accordingly investigate the Ottoman and Turkish reception of Indian religions, spiritualities, and intellectual history starting from the late 19th century. Parallel to this, we examine the reception of East Asian Buddhism, including its literature and aesthetics in the Republic of Turkey.

While Theosophy may also be counted, along with Spiritism, among the most important new spiritual currents in Europe of the late 19th century, in Turkey Spiritism alone took on the central role. It is noteworthy that Istanbul and other centers of the Ottoman Empire were already part of the rapidly globalizing Spiritism in the 1850s. Moreover, Spiritism and its offshoots continue in Turkey to this day to be paramount to the scene of alternative religiosities. Nonetheless, other forms of Western esotericism and new religiosities have also been important in Turkey ever since the founding of the Republic. In this regard, the project includes, among others, studies on Turkish Freemasonry, the intertwinement of Western and Eastern esotericism in George Gurdjieff’s teachings, the reception of René Guénon, and the local dissemination of Michael Berg’s Kabbalah.

By far the largest area in the field of new contemporary religiosities is that of New Age and alternative therapies. In Turkey, they have enjoyed immense popularity since the 1990s at the latest. The diverse range of practices, courses, and therapies cannot be overlooked in many Turkish cities. Especially in bookstores, they are represented to an extent that closely resembles that of similar offerings in Western European countries. In the Turkish context, however, the Islamic heritage has clearly had an impact on a significant part of this field. It should be noted that these still nascent new religiosities are not to be trivialized as “syncretism,” but must be understood as genuine local forms of New Age. Thanks to such varied adaptations, new religiosities have succeeded in appealing to both secular as well as more conservative Muslim social strata. It is not unusual for a large number—if not the majority—of New Age practitioners to define themselves as Muslim. For many, at least some of the new religiosities examined here are quite compatible with Islam as a kind of a patchwork religiosity. Alternative forms of therapy are also subjects of our research—whether coming from Western sources such as esotericism, New Age, or the physical culture movement or inspired by Islamic religious history. In Turkey, as in numerous other countries, “complementary and alternative medicine” is also part of a recognition process initiated by the World Health Organization, in which previous processes of institutionalization and cultural ideologies play a considerable role.

Since the term chosen for the project, “new religiosities,” does not restrict the subject matter to the Turkish reception of Western esotericism or Western New Age, it allows for a wider view of the country’s spiritual landscape. Such a broad perspective will make it possible to understand new religiosities in their global and local contexts both historically as well as sociologically, anthropologically, and culturally. This permits the project to also investigate new religiosities within Islam. These frequently develop under comparable sociological circumstances, whether in similar local contexts or as analogous types of responses to the challenges of modernity. Accordingly, modern forms of Sufism and locally rooted spiritualism are also subjects of our investigation. Thus, with its interest in the soul, the unity of being (vahdet-i vücud), and the relationship between self and God, Turkish spiritualism offers important local points of contact for the later development of other new religiosities. By contrast, modern Sufism in our view is subject to the same global processes as new religiosities in the West and therefore often shows very similar forms of community formation and self-spirituality as New Age.

Finally, the project also deals with the issue of “reenchantment.” “Reenchantment” is understood here in the sense of transformation of religious or spiritual geography and a parallel transformation of environmental understanding. Although not always distinguishable from the city in a sociological sense, due to its proximity to nature rural space allows for new forms of spiritual life and experience that may be discovered in alternative communal formations—whether temporarily for the purposes of recreation or adventure holidays or long term in the sense of new living arrangements.

IslamAnatolia: The Islamisation of Anatolia, c. 1100–1500

Supervised by: Dr. Andrew Peacock (School of History, University of St. Andrews) in collaboration with Dr. Sara Nur Yıldız

Duration: 2012–2016

Sponsored by: Seventh Frontier Programs Starting Grant awarded by the European Research Council

The research project “IslamAnatolia” studies the transformation of Anatolia from a Christian to a predominantly Muslim society over the period c. 1100–1500 CE. Where previous research has concentrated almost exclusively on conversion, this study also emphasizes the importance of acculturation to Islam, and thus seeks to understand the processes through which Islamic culture took root among the recently converted Turkish as well as Christian populations. “IslamAnatolia” examines the formation of Anatolian Islamic society through the extensive but largely unstudied literary evidence it has bestowed to us in the form of numerous Arabic, Persian, and Turkish manuscripts. Despite work on individual texts, the contours of this literature as a whole are largely unknown, and many works remain unpublished. This project is creating a publicly accessible database about the extant manuscripts produced and circulated in Anatolia during the formative period of Islamisation from the twelfth to the beginning of the sixteenth century, containing information on their contents as well as details about the place and date of copying, patronage, and authorship. The codicological information of the database will be linked to mapping software, providing for the first time reliable data about the dates and places in which specific texts were circulated, illuminating the intellectual sources for the cultural and religious Islamisation of Anatolia.

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.

A.C.S. Peacock, S.N. Yıldız (eds.). Islamic Literature and Intellectual Life in Fourteenth- and Fifteenth-century Anatolia. (Istanbuler Texte und Studien Bd. 34) Würzburg: Ergon Verlag 2016.

Third Preparatory Workshop: Religious History of Anatolia – GIS & Database

Responsible: Frederick Elwert & Raoul Motika

Date of event: 17 October 2016

Organizations: Center for Religious Studies CERES, Ruhr-University Bochum and OII

The workshop took place as part of the preparatory work for the international research center on “Circulation, Adaption, and Invention: Religious Change in Anatolia at the Intersection of Continents and Cultures” at CERES in Bochum. It served to develop a concept for a digital working platform to be completed in 2017/2018. During the workshop, around twenty representatives of the involved institutions presented various examples of digital platforms, GIS systems and databases in the humanities and discussed their relevance for the planned large-scale project. At the end of the workshop, the working group “Digital Humanities” of the project consortium agreed that the Orient-Institut Istanbul, supported by the branch office of the Max Weber Foundation and together with the DAI at its Berlin headquarters, should draw up the proposal for a DH concept for a digital working platform of the international cooperation project.

Second Preparatory Workshop: Religious Change in Central- and South-East Anatolia

Supervised by: Frederick Elwert & Raoul Motika

Event date: 3–4 June 2016

Main collaborator: Centrum für Religionswissenschaftliche Studien CERES, Ruhr Universität Bochum

The workshop “Religious Change in Central- and South-East Anatolia” was held in preparation

of the establishment of an International Research Centre in Istanbul on “Circulation,

Adaption, and Invention: Religious Change in Anatolia at the Intersection of Continents and

Cultures.” Central- and South-East Anatolia are among the priority regions which exemplify the enormous diversity of religious practices in Anatolia in the longue durée from c. 10.000 BCE to the present and their connections to neighbouring civilizations.

The workshop aimed to provide a synopsis of the evolution of religion within these two regions as well as their most prominent sacred sites. Furthermore, the envisioned key questions underlying the research framework pertaining to the topics of ‘Environment and Religion’, ‘Sovereignty and Religion’, and ‘Connections and Interactions’ are also to be dealt with in order to offer perspectives for future research on the religious history of Anatolia and for possible ways of dealing with contemporary social and religious conflicts.

Workshop: Biography, Personal Identity, Ego, the Self, and Self-Transformation

Supervised by: Alexandre Toumarkine and Till Luge

Event date: 17–19 Mar. 2016

Main collaborator: Centre d’Études Turques, Ottomanes, Balkaniques et Centrasiatiques (CETOBaC, EHESS, Paris)

Other collaborators: Institut Français d’Etudes Anatoliennes (IFEA, Istanbul)

Sponsored by: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) and Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR)

The workshop was conducted within the scope of the project “New Religiosities in Turkey: Reenchantment in a Secular Muslim Country?” at the Orient-Institut Istanbul. This workshop analyzed the diversity of ideas of personal development in the various forms of new religiosities. Topics included narratives of spiritual transformation, of inner struggle with the ego, of physical, spiritual and mental recovery, and of the fundamental transformation of the self and the body. Special attention was paid to the problem of terminology, both in a comparison of different spiritual traditions as well as in relation to the translation ​​into Turkish from other languages. One central theme was the complexity of the Islamic term nefs as the equivalent of the concept of the ego and the concept of spiritual ascent. Key questions in each of the presentations related to the relationship between the individual and society and the role of the narrative representation of individual transformation in the constitution of the respective religious groups.

Workshop: Spiritism in the Late Ottoman Empire and the Turkish Republic

Responsible: Alexandre Toumarkine & Till Luge

Date of event: 22-23 January 2016

Main cooperation partners: Centre d’ Études Turques, Ottomanes, Balkaniques et Centrasiatiques (CETOBaC, EHESS, Paris)

Other cooperation partners: Institut Français d’ Etudes Anatoliennes (IFEA, Istanbul), Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul (SRII)

Supported by: German Research Foundation (DFG) & Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR)

The workshop took place as part of the project “New Religiosities in Turkey: Re-enchantment in a Secularized Muslim Country?” at the Orient-Institut Istanbul. The workshop examined the reception and spread of Spiritism in the late Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Turkey. In a panel on the Ottoman Empire, the history of Spiritism in the metropolises of the empire was comprehensively analyzed using sources in Ottoman, French, and English. A panel on the subject of Spiritism in the Republic of Turkey looked at the roles played by Bedri Ruhselman, the central figure of Turkish Spiritism, and the literary milieu in the 1940s and 1950s. Attention was also paid to the relationship between Spiritism and Islam. Finally, the current transformations of Turkish (Post-)Spiritism were studied on the basis of various institutions and groups.

Workshop: Of Shamans, Spirits and the Apocalypse—New Religions and Alternative Spiritualities in Turkey and the Near East

Supervised by: Laurent Mignon, Alexandre Toumarkine, and Till Luge

Event date: 2 Dec. 2015

Main collaborator: St. Anthony’s College and Middle East Centre (University of Oxford), Centre d’Études Turques, Ottomanes, Balkaniques et Centrasiatiques (CETOBaC, EHESS, Paris)

Sponsored by: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) and Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR)

This workshop was held as part of the project “New Religiosities in Turkey: Reenchantment in a Secular Muslim Country?” at the University of Oxford. It consisted of a panel and a roundtable. The panel addressed the question of the relationship between different forms of spirituality, politics, and ideologies in Turkey. The ways in which Spiritism, Neoshamanism, Islamic eschatology, and alternative spiritualities amalgamated with political institutions and movements were examined. The subsequent round table discussed the activities and the freedom of action of small Muslim communities in Turkey and the Middle East.

Workshop: Geography, Locality, and Location

Supervised by: Alexandre Toumarkine and Till Luge

Event date: 8–10 Oct. 2015

Main collaborator: Centre d’Études Turques, Ottomanes, Balkaniques et Centrasiatiques (CETOBaC, EHESS, Paris)

Other collaborators: Institut Français d’Etudes Anatoliennes (IFEA, Istanbul)

Sponsored by: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) and Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR)

The workshop was conducted within the scope of the project “New Religiosities in Turkey: Reenchantment in a Secular Muslim Country?” at the Orient-Institut Istanbul. It was devoted to two topics: On the one hand, the workshop examined the processes of reenchantment—especially in rural areas—with special attention being paid to the role of regional geography and archaeological finds. On the other hand, it brought to bear the issue of the spatialization of spirituality, especially in reference to urban contexts. At the same time, the workshop considered the role of regional specificity, social and spatial niches, along with the joint use of space.

Workshop: Holy Books and Spiritual Fiction—Between Hermeneutics and Literary Imagination

Supervised by: Nathalie Clayer, Dilek Sarmis, Alexandre Toumarkine, and Till Luge

Event date: 6–7 May 2015

Main collaborator: Centre d’Études Turques, Ottomanes, Balkaniques et Centrasiatiques (CETOBaC, EHESS, Paris)

Sponsored by: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) and Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR)

The workshop was conducted within the scope of the project “New Religiosities in Turkey: Reenchantment in a Secular Muslim Country?” and held at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS, Paris). On the one hand, the workshop dealt with religious imaginary worlds in literature, especially science fiction, and in film. Here, processes of disenchantment and reenchantment as well as new eschatological visions were investigated. On the other hand, the workshop treated the variegated use of sacred books by religious and spiritual communities, while highlighting the practice of hermeneutics and ongoing processes of sacralization.

Workshop: Reception of Islam in Anatolia

Supervised by: Dr. Andrew Peacock (School of History, University of St. Andrews) in collaboration with Dr. Sara Nur Yıldız

Event date: 5–6 May 2015

Main collaborator: Koç Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations

The workshop took place within the scope of the project “IslamAnatolia.” For related contributions, see: : A.C.S. Peacock, Bruno de Nicola, Sara Nur Yıldız (eds.). Islam and Christianity in Mediaeval Anatolia. Surrey, UK: Routledge 2015.

Workshop: Alternative Constructions of Authority in New Religiosities

Supervised by: Alexandre Toumarkine and Till Luge

Event date: 19–21 Feb. 2015

Main collaborator: Centre d’Études Turques, Ottomanes, Balkaniques et Centrasiatiques (CETOBaC, EHESS, Paris)

Other collaborators: Institut Français d’Etudes Anatoliennes (IFEA, Istanbul)

Sponsored by: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) and Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR)

The workshop was conducted within the scope of the project “New Religiosities in Turkey: Reenchantment in a Secular Muslim Country?” at the Orient-Institut Istanbul. It was devoted to the construction of authority in new religiosities, as, for example in Sufism and in modern forms of esotericism, occultism, and Spiritism. Here, the use of aesthetics, self-development, therapies, and narrative discourses were comparatively evaluated in the establishment of modern forms of authority. In addition, the workshop dealt with the internalization of some of these elements in contemporary Turkish Islam.

Workshop: New Religiosities and Media

Supervised by: Alexandre Toumarkine and Till Luge

Event date: 30 Oct. ̶ 1 Nov. 2014

Main collaborator: Centre d’Études Turques, Ottomanes, Balkaniques et Centrasiatiques (CETOBaC, EHESS, Paris)

Other collaborators: Institut Français d’Etudes Anatoliennes (IFEA, Istanbul), Norwegian Embassy in Turkey

Sponsored by: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) and Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR)

The workshop was conducted within the scope of the project “New Religiosities in Turkey: Reenchantment in a Secular Muslim Country?” at the Orient-Institut Istanbul. The workshop examined the different roles of publishers, editors, authors, translators, and new media such as television or the Internet in the spread and shaping of new religiosities in Turkey. To better work out Turkish specificities, the historical role of such actors and institutions was comparatively analyzed with non-Turkish contexts.

Workshop: New Religiosities and Science—On the Creative Appropriation of Scientific Ideas and Discourses

Supervised by: Alexandre Toumarkine and Till Luge

Event date: 19–21 June 2014

Main collaborator: Centre d’Études Turques, Ottomanes, Balkaniques et Centrasiatiques (CETOBaC, EHESS, Paris)

Other collaborators: Institut Français d’Etudes Anatoliennes (IFEA, Istanbul), Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul (SRII)

Sponsored by: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) and Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR)

The workshop was conducted within the scope of the project “New Religiosities in Turkey: Reenchantment in a Secular Muslim Country?” at the Orient-Institut Istanbul. Its primary theme was the relationship between religion and religiosities, on the one hand, and positivism, creationism, and pseudoscience, on the other. Treated topics ranged from Ottoman Spiritism to Said Nursi’s notion of science, UFO religion, and modern religious-spiritual quantum theories.

Workshop: African Migrants, Churches, and New Religiosities in Present-Day Istanbul

Supervised by: Alexandre Toumarkine and Till Luge

Event date: 24 May 2014

Main collaborator: Centre d’Études Turques, Ottomanes, Balkaniques et Centrasiatiques (CETOBaC, EHESS, Paris)

Sponsored by: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) and Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR)

The workshop was conducted within the scope of the project “New Religiosities in Turkey: Reenchantment in a Secular Muslim Country?” at the Orient-Institut Istanbul. Its topics included previously unknown or ignored actors and scarcely visible or still-emerging institutions that are related to African migrants. Befitting the subject of migration, the presented studies were oriented methodologically to the question of the relationship between space and practice.

Conference: The Dervish and the Yogi—Indian Spiritualities Through Turkish Eyes

Supervised by: Laurent Mignon, Alexandre Toumarkine, and Till Luge

Event date: 3 May 2014

Main collaborator: St Anthony’s College & Middle East Centre (University of Oxford), Ertegun House, Centre d’Études Turques, Ottomanes, Balkaniques et Centrasiatiques (CETOBaC, EHESS, Paris)

Sponsored by: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) and Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR)

This conference was held within the scope of the project “New Religiosities in Turkey: Reenchantment in a Secular Muslim Country?” at the University of Oxford. It focused on the reception of India and Indian religions and spiritualities in the late Ottoman Empire and the Turkish Republic. The conference served as a comprehensive forum for the topic in order to prepare an anthology. For this purpose, it dealt with previously absent subjects and critically assessed research findings presented at earlier workshops.

Workshop: Attitudes of Turkish State Actors and Islamic Authorities to New Religiosities

Supervised by: Alexandre Toumarkine and Till Luge

Event date: 20–22 Feb. 2014

Main collaborator: Centre d’Études Turques, Ottomanes, Balkaniques et Centrasiatiques (CETOBaC, EHESS, Paris)

Sponsored by: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) and Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR)

This was the first workshop to be held within the scope of the project “New Religiosities in Turkey: Reenchantment in a Secular Muslim Country?” funded by the ANR and the DFG. The themes of the workshop included the attitudes and actions of state actors and state institutions in relation to the wide landscape of new religiosities in Turkey. Raised issues included the integration of alternative therapies in the public health system, the attitude of the Presidency of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) toward non-Islamic spiritualities, and public promotion of Sufism as part of modern Turkish culture.

Workshop: New Religious Movements in Turkey—Presentations on Field Studies III

Supervised by: Alexandre Toumarkine

Event date: 25–26 Oct. 2013

Main collaborator: Centre d’Études Turques, Ottomanes, Balkaniques et Centrasiatiques (CETOBaC, EHESS, Paris)

Other collaborators: Institut Français d’Etudes Anatoliennes (IFEA, Istanbul)

This workshop was a continuation and deepening of previous investigations concerning the reception of spiritualities vis-à-vis India and new forms of Sufism. In addition, it treated the proliferation of esoteric and occult beliefs and practices in Turkey, along with the practice of non-Islamic Abrahamic religions in contemporary Istanbul.

This and the previous two workshops helped the project not only to gain a preliminary overview of the field of new religiosities in Turkey, but to also raise fundamental terminological questions. Thus, many presentations questioned the conceptualization of the research topic as “new religious movements”  and considered the focus on “movements” as overly restrictive. As a result, the broad field that the project aims to explore is now conceptualized under the term “new religiosities.”

Workshop: New Religious Movements in Turkey—Presentations on Field Studies II

Supervised by: Alexandre Toumarkine

Event date: 19–20 Apr. 2013

Main collaborator: Centre d’Études Turques, Ottomanes, Balkaniques et Centrasiatiques (CETOBaC, EHESS, Paris)

This workshop illuminated the importance of spiritualism and Spiritism for the development of new religions and religiosities in Turkey. Moreover, the workshop again dealt with the reception of India, but also with new subjects such as the question of jurisdiction and intra-Islamic debates about supposedly alternative religious ideas.

Workshop: Literature and Intellectual Life in Islamic Anatolia in the 14th–15th Centuries: Historical, Social and Political Perspectives

Supervised by: Dr. Andrew Peacock (School of History, University of St. Andrews) in collaboration with Dr. Sara Nur Yıldız

Event date: 6–7 Sept. 2013

Main collaborator: Koç Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations

The workshop took place within the scope of the project “IslamAnatolia.” For contributions, see:

A.C.S. Peacock, Sara Nur Yıldız (eds.)- Islamic Literature and Intellectual Life in Fourteenth- and Fifteenth-Century Anatolia. Würzburg: Ergon Verlag 2016.

Workshop: New Religious Movements in Turkey—Presentations on Field Studies I

Supervised by: Alexandre Toumarkine

Event date: 23–24 Nov. 2012

Main collaborator: Centre d’Études Turques, Ottomanes, Balkaniques et Centrasiatiques (CETOBaC, EHESS, Paris)

This first workshop helped the project to gain a preliminary overview of the field of new religious movements and new religiosities in Turkey. The diverse topics of the workshop ranged from new religious movements and New Age practices linked with India to various alternative forms of therapy with a spiritual dimension and new forms of Sufism in Turkey.

Lecture Series: Islam in Anatolia Through the Ages

Supervised by: Dr. Alexandre Toumarkine and Dr. Sara Nur Yıldız

Event date: Fall 2011–spring 2012

The focus of this interdisciplinary lecture series was the latest research approaches relating to the different religious milieus during the Middle Ages, the Ottoman period, and the Turkish Republic.

Culture and Everyday History of Turkish Islamism

Supervised by: Jan-Markus Vömel, MA (Universität Konstanz)

Sponsored by: OII (doctoral scholarship, 15 Apr. ̶ 14 Oct. 2016)

The dissertation of Jan-Markus Vömel explores the culture and everyday history (Alltagsgeschichte) of Turkish Islamism. Islamism was never just political. Although the Islamist movement in Turkey in the 1980s and 1990s produced a new political language and effective political organizations, at the same time, it was based on a complex mixture of new forms of devout Islamic sociality, effective symbolic communication, compatible discourses, and transformative everyday practices. The project starts with this complexity and, in a sense, tries to turn the research perspective on its head: What actually happened when people entered the Islamic milieu? What distinguished the Islamist “self” from the subjects in other milieus in Turkey? How was daily life restructured and assigned new meaning along with the reform of the self? Which practices embedded the new subject forms in the habitus of the Turkish Islamists? This basic point of departure aims to provide a new perspective on Turkish Islamism; methodologically, it is inspired by recent praxeological approaches from sociology, ethnology, and history. In this way, seemingly normal and mundane questions are scrutinized, leading to insights into the underlying processes. Examples include religious gatherings or political activities in which community is encountered in collective emotional experiences and is only produced in this manner or the reading of widely disseminated vade mecums aimed at practical, self-regulatory effects.

Pedagogical Practices in İSMEK Course Centres

Supervised by: Dr. Banu Şenay (Macquarie University)

Sponsored by: DFG and ANR (project: “New Religiosities in Turkey,” 1 June–6 July 2016)

Angel Therapy and Hızır in Turkey II

Supervised by: Bedia Akyüz, MA (Freie Universität Berlin)

Sponsored by: DFG and ANR (project: “New Religiosities in Turkey,” 15 June– 14 July 2016)

Culture and Everyday History of Turkish Islamism

Supervised by: Jan-Markus Vömel, MA (Universität Konstanz)

Sponsored by: OII (doctoral scholarship, 15 Apr.–14 Oct. 2016)

Suryoye in Turkey: the Semiotic Construction of Ethnic and Religious Identity

University of Arizona

Supervised by: Kerith M. Miller, MA (University of Arizona)

Sponsored by: OII (doctoral scholarship, 1 Oct. 2015–30 Apr. 2016)

Angel Therapy and Hızır in Turkey I

Supervised by: Bedia Akyüz, MA (Freie Universität Berlin)

Sponsored by: DFG and ANR (project: “New Religiosities in Turkey,” 1–31 Sept. 2015)

New Age in Antalya: Between Dropouts and Commerce

Supervised by: Till Luge, MA (Orient-Institut Istanbul)

Sponsored by: DFG and ANR (project: “New Religiosities in Turkey,” 27 May–6 June 2015)

Religion and Spirituality in Contemporary Turkish Literature

Supervised by: Jun.-Prof. Dr. Béatrice Hendrich (Universität zu Köln)

Sponsored by: DFG and ANR (project: “New Religiosities in Turkey,” 22 Feb.–1 Mar. 2015)

Uyghur Healers in Istanbul and Kayseri

Supervised by: Tomas Wilkoszewski (Macquarie University)

Sponsored by: DFG and ANR (project: “New Religiosities in Turkey,” 1–31 Jan. 2015, 15 May–15 June 2015, 15 Mar.–15 Apr. 2016)

The Eschatological Component of the Legitimacy of Ottoman Rule, Its Nature and Its Development from the End of the 15th century to the 1560s

Supervised by: Atilla Babadostu, MA (Universität Wien)

Sponsored by: OII (doctoral scholarship, 1 Apr.–30 June 2015)

Turkish Islamic Novels: Fantasy, Utopia, Science Fiction

Supervised by: Jun.-Prof. Dr. Béatrice Hendrich (Universität zu Köln)

Sponsored by: DFG and ANR (project: “New Religiosities in Turkey,” 29 Oct.–4 Nov. 2014)

Doctrine of the Soul and the Guidance of Souls in the Ottoman-Arab 17th Century: Qāsim al-Sānî’s Work on the Education of Novices: as-Sayr was-sulūk ilā malik al-mulūk

Supervised by: Gülfem Alici, MA (Universität Hamburg)

Sponsored by: OII (doctoral scholarship, 1 May–30 Sept. 2014)

Islamisation of Anatolia, c. 1100–1500

Supervised by: Prof. Dr. Andrew Peacock (St. Andrews University)

Sponsored by: Seventh Frontier Programme Starting Grant awarded by the European Research Council (1.–30 Sept. 2013)

New Religious Movements in Turkey

Supervised by: Dilek Sarmış, MA (CNRS-EHESS Paris)

Sponsored by: CNRS-EHESS Paris (1 July–31 Oct. 2012)

Traditional Sufi Theories and Practices and New Age Religious Movements

Supervised by: Nikos Sigalas, MA (CNRS-EHESS Paris)

Sponsored by: OII (doctoral scholarship, 1 June–31 Oct. 2012)

Neo-Hindu Religious Movements and Yoga Teaching in Contemporary Turkey

Supervised by: Fabio Salomoni, MA (Koç University)

Sponsored by: OII (doctoral scholarship, 1 June–30 Sept. 2013)

The Bektashi Order—Interdisciplinary and Cross-Cultural History of a Dervish Order in the Long 19th century

Supervised by: Cem Kara, MA (Universität zu Köln)

Sponsored by: OII (doctoral scholarship, 1 Apr.–30 Sept. 2012)

From Roots to Essence: Commercial and Legendary Topography of Phyto-Therapeutic Representations and Practices in Turkey

Supervised by: Brian Chauvel, MA (EHESS Paris)

Sponsored by: OII (doctoral scholarship, 1 Apr.–30 Sept. 2012)

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