Wednesday 28 September 2016

New Religiosities in Turkey

Post by Till Luge

First of all, let me thank you, Mark, for forming ENSIE. The interface between Islam and Esotericism is unfortunately an understudied topic and this group will hopefully facilitate collaboration in this area.

Second, I would like to briefly introduce a research team some of whose members are involved in the ENSIE Facebook group, namely Raoul Motika, Jean-Francois Mayer, Laurent Mignon, Martin Riexinger, Alexandre Toumarkine and I. We take part in a collaborative research project of the Orient-Institut Istanbul (OII) and the CETOBAC (EHESS, Paris) entitled "New Religiosities in Turkey: Reenchantment in a Secularized Muslim Country?"

The project is jointly funded by the Agence Nationale de la Recherche and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft. The project is headed by Alexandre Toumarkine (for the OII) and Nathalie Clayer (for the CETOBAC). I have the fortune to be employed at the OII as a coordinator and research fellow.

The project researches 'new religiosities' in the late Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Turkey, understood as phenomena related to new forms of Western as well as Ottoman and Turkish Esotericism, New Age, and spititualities. We regard the emergence of such new patterns in the religious landscape of the late Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Turkey as closely linked with a global religio-cultural change that comes with the new social, economic, and scientific orders, the new means of communication, and the worldwide mobility that characterize high and especially late modernity. But we also pay attention to local continuities in the emergence of new religiosities in the region.

Our topics of interest include but are not limited to late Ottoman and Turkish Republican Spiritism and Post-Spiritism, late modern forms of Sufism, Islamic 'gurus,' Western Esotericism in Turkey, the reenchantment of nature, the ongoing process of the mediation of holy books, the reception of South and East Asian religions in the Ottoman Empire and Turkey, the growing popularity of Esotericism and New Age in the present, and the establishment of a partially state-supported field of spiritually informed complementary and alternative medicine.

We regularly organize workshops in Istanbul and Paris and participate in a variety of international conferences. The manuscript of our first collaborative publication, an edited volume entitled "Indian Spiritualities in Turkey: An East-East Encounter" will be submitted in a few weeks.

You may have a look at our (unfortunately rather outdated) (in French)