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Writing Religion: The Making of Turkish Alevi Islam

ISBN : 9780190234096

Markus Dressler
346 Pages
162 x 236 mm
Pub date
May 2015
AAR Reflection and Theory in the Study of Religion
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In the late 1980s, the Alevis, at that time thought to be largely assimilated into the secular Turkish mainstream, began to assert their difference as they never had before. The question of Alevism's origins and its relation to Islam and to Turkish culture became a highly contested issue. According to the dominant understanding, Alevism is part of the Islamic tradition, although located on its margins. It is further assumed that Alevism is intrinsically related to Anatolian and Turkish culture, carrying an ancient Turkish heritage, leading back into pre-Islamic Central Asian Turkish pasts. Dressler argues that this knowledge about the Alevis-their demarcation as "heterodox" but Muslim and their status as carriers of Turkish culture-is in fact of rather recent origins. It was formulated within the complex historical dynamics of the late Ottoman Empire and the first years of the Turkish Republic in the context of Turkish nation-building and its goal of ethno-religious homogeneity.


Prologue: Alevism Contested
Introduction: Genealogies and Significations
Part 1: Missionaries, Nationalists, and the Kizilbas-Alevis
Chapter 1: The Western Discovery of the Kizilbas-Alevis
Chapter 2: Nationalism, Religion, and Inter-Communal Violence
Chapter 3: Entering the Gaze of the Nationalists
Part 2: Mehmed Fuad Koprulu (1890-1966) and the Conceptualization of Inner-Islamic Difference
Chapter 4: Nationalism, Historiography, and Politics
Chapter 5: Religiography: Taxonomies of Essences and Differences
Chapter 6: Alevi and Alevilik in the Work of Fuad Koprulu and His Legacy
Conclusion: Tropes of Difference and Sameness - The Making of Alevism as a Modernist Project Notes

About the author: 

Markus Dressler is currently Visiting Associate Professor at the University of Gottingen.

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