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Sufism from Empire to Republic

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Thursday, February 23, 2023, 1:00 pm – Friday, February 24, 2023, 6:00 pm

Sufism from Empire to Republic

February 23-24, 2023
Central European University

The workshop will explore legacies, trajectories, and transformations of Sufi traditions in the Turkish Republic following the legal prohibition of Sufi orders by the state. The goal of the workshop is to bring together scholars who work on various aspects of the topic including ritual, museumization, tekkes, architecture, intellectual developments, institutional transformations, national religion, visual arts, literature, and culture, broadly conceived. One of the main motivations for this event is to try to gain a better perspective on what we know and do not know about Sufi lodges, orders, institutions, rituals and ideas in the late Ottoman/republican period. What continued, what transformed, what disappeared, what was invented, re-invented or revived?

Workshop program

Room: A420 

13.30-13.35: Welcome 

13.35-14.35: Roundtable I: discussion on the state of the field

14.35-14.55: Coffee break


Deniz Ali Gür (Leipzig University)
Ahmed Rıfkı (1884-1935): A Late Ottoman Bektashi Agent of Cultural Transfer


Mark Soileau (Lund University)
Hidden Visibility: Bektashis and Their Stuff in the Early Republic

16.15-16.35: Coffee break


Cathlene Dollar (University of Cape Town)
Smashing the “Idols”: The Tijani Destruction of Turkish Republican Icons


Lucía Cirianni Salazar (Berlin Graduate Muslim Cultures and Societies)
Heterothenticity: A Levinasian approach to the problem of change in Sufi history (Online talk)

18.30: Dinner

Room: C322


Brett Wilson (CEU)
Reflections on Sufism, Secularism, and National Culture


Dilek Sarmis (University of Strasbourg)
Taking up the Challenge of Religious Reformism in Early Republican Turkey with Sufism: The Academicization of Tasavvuf in the First Faculty of Theology (1924-1933) 

11.20-11.35: Coffee break


Gökçen Beyinli (Hamburg University)
Intersection of ‘Popular' Religion and Sufism during the Republic: Hacı Bayram Veli and His Shrine in Ankara


Burcu Sağlam Sarıkaya (Marmara University/Istinye University)
Accommodating Modernity and Sufism: Transformation of the Sheikh-Dervish Relationship in Contemporary Turkey (Online talk)

12.55-14.55: Lunch break


Yusuf Selman İnanç (CEU)
Reinvention of Naqshbandiyya: Politics of Sufism in Early Republican Era in Turkey 

15.35-16.20: Roundtable II: Concluding discussion 

18.00: Dinner