Writing Religion: The Making of Turkish Alevi Islam

Paperback | April 10, 2015

byMarkus Dressler

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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 Turkishpasts.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 theTurkish Republic in the context of Turkish nation-building and its goal of ethno-religious homogeneity.

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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...

Markus Dressler has published widely on modern Alevism and secularism. His research focuses on the sociology and politics of Islam in Turkey, nationalist Turkish historiography, and Sufism in the West with special attention to the work of concepts in the study of religion and Islam. He is the editor, with Arvind Mandair, of Secularism...

other books by Markus Dressler

Format:PaperbackDimensions:346 pages, 9.21 × 6.1 × 0.91 inPublished:April 10, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0190234091

ISBN - 13:9780190234096

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgementsPrologue: Alevism ContestedIntroduction: Genealogies and SignificationsPart 1: Missionaries, Nationalists, and the Kizilbas-Alevis1. The Western Discovery of the Kizilbas-Alevis2. Nationalism, Religion, and Inter-Communal Violence3. Entering the Gaze of the NationalistsPart 2: Mehmed Fuad Keprl (1890-1966) and the Conceptualization of Inner-Islamic Difference4. Nationalism, Historiography, and Politics5. Religiography: Taxonomies of Essences and Differences6. Alevi and Alevilik in the Work of Fuad Keprl and His LegacyConclusion: Tropes of Difference and Sameness - The Making of Alevism as a Modernist Project NotesBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

"This thought-provoking and provocative but historically sensitive contribution is the best examination I have seen of the political foundation for the Kizilbas communities renamed 'Alevis.' Dressler's interpretation will be a prime resource for both scholarship and public policy concerningthe religio-secular debate in Turkey." --M. Hakan Yavuz, author of Toward an Islamic Enlightenment: The Gulen Movement