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Title: Performing Sufi living in contemporary Turkey
Author: Çizmeci, Hasret Esra
Awarding Body: University of Roehampton
Current Institution: University of Roehampton
Date of Award: 2015
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In 1925, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish Republic, at the beginning of the Republican Era of Turkey, passed a series of decrees that prohibited the production and maintenance of Sufi lodges in Turkey and the practices of Sufi şeyhs and dervishes. This legal act was part of Atatürk’s social reforms that were designed to convert the newly found Republic of Turkey into a secular, modern state. Atatürk believed that Sufi dervish lodges should be closed immediately in order to transform the long-existing religious Ottoman culture into a rapidly evolving intellectual culture educated through Western scientific knowledge. This project examines how, despite legal restrictions prohibiting Sufi lodge production, devotees continue to create space for their devotional living in present-day Turkey. Through extensive field research in Sufi communities, this project investigates how Sufi religious practices are maintained, adapted, mobilized, and empowered through embodied acts of Sufi followers. Using Dwight Conquergood’s concept of “dialogic” performance, I analyze the ritual and everyday life experience of Sufi devotees in a variety of temporary and permanent sacred spaces through my coperformative witnessing. I argue in this study that the multifaceted urban Sufi devotional living in contemporary Turkey may be discerned most vividly by analysis of production of Sufi sacred spaces, the performance of Sufi rituals, and embodiment of Sufi beliefs and values in everyday life in a variety of urban commercial sites such as museums and cultural centers and private houses and apartment buildings converted to Sufi lodges. With their embodied acts, devotees revive, reformulate, expand, and mobilize Sufism as a way of living that is a synthesis of secular and religious values of the Turkish state.
Supervisor: Szeman-Ureche, Ioana ; Greenhalgh, Susanne Sponsor: Roehampton University
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Sufism