ReOrienting the Global Study of Religion - Huseyin Yilmaz

Wednesday, March 24, 2021 13:30to15:00

Professor Huseyin Yilmaz, George Mason University, will speak on Patron Saints of the Rum and their Chosen Dynasty: The Story of Ottomans in Sufi Hagiographies.

Hosted on Zoom: https://mcgill.zoom.us/j/81643587302

1:30 p.m. EDT (UTC–4)

The Keenan Chair of Interfaith Studies and the James McGill Professor of Islamic Philosophy are collaborating in a reflection on religion, Islam, and cosmopolitanism associated with McGill’s academic tradition of Islamic Studies, and epitomized by scholars such as Wilfred Cantwell Smith, Fazlur Rahman, and Toshihiko Izutsu.

In preparation for the Keenan Conference on World Religions and Globalization, we are hosting an online lecture series titled ReOrienting the Global Study of Religion: History, Theory, and Society. While the study of the Islamosphere has stimulated a critical reconceptualization of the notion of religion, we would like to extend this reflection to how religious concepts have been embedded in broader views of history and society, including the Western colonial construction of the “Middle East” as the cradle not just of Islam but of all Abrahamic religions.

The seventh speaker in the series will be Prof. Hüseyin Yılmaz, George Mason University. The title of the lecture, which will be followed by a Q&A, is Patron Saints of the Rum and their Chosen Dynasty: The Story of Ottomans in Sufi Hagiographies. Professor Aslıhan Gürbüzel, McGill University, will serve as a discussant of the lecture.

Abstract: The post-Mongol Western Anatolia was a breeding ground for ambitious Turkic chieftains and charismatic saints competing for a new spiritual and political order. These rulers and dervishes, often clashing with each other, constantly negotiated the nature and boundaries of spiritual and temporal authorities. This talk will elaborate on how hagiographies reflected Sufistic visions of authority and portrayed the Ottomans from the 14th through the 16th centuries.

Hüseyin Yılmaz is currently an associate professor in Department of History and Art History, and research director at the Ali Vural Ak Center for Global Islamic Studies at George Mason University. He received his PhD in 2005 from Harvard University in History and Middle Eastern Studies. From 2005 to 2009 he taught at the Humanities Program and Department of History, Stanford University. From 2009 to 2012 he taught in Department of History, University of South Florida. As research fellow, he spent Spring 2010 at Internationales Forschungszentrum Kulturwissenschaften, Vienna. His research interests include political thought, geographic imageries, social movements, and cultural history of the Ottoman Empire and the broader Islamicate world of the early modern era. He is the author of Caliphate Redefined: The Mystical Turn in Ottoman Political Thought (Princeton University Press, 2018). His recent publications include “The Eastern Question and the Ottoman Empire: The Genesis of the Near and Middle East in the Nineteenth Century” and “From Serbestiyet to Hürriyet: Ottoman Statesmen and the Question of Freedom During the Late Enlightenment.”

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