Teachers of the Public, Advisors to the Sultan: Preachers and the Rise of a Political Public Sphere in Early Modern Istanbul (1600-1675)

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Teachers of the Public, Advisors to the Sultan: Preachers and the Rise of a Political Public Sphere in Early Modern Istanbul (1600-1675)

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Title: Teachers of the Public, Advisors to the Sultan: Preachers and the Rise of a Political Public Sphere in Early Modern Istanbul (1600-1675)
Author: Gurbuzel, Sumeyra A.
Citation: Gurbuzel, Sumeyra A. 2016. Teachers of the Public, Advisors to the Sultan: Preachers and the Rise of a Political Public Sphere in Early Modern Istanbul (1600-1675). Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
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Abstract: This dissertation focuses on preachers as key actors in the rise of a political public sphere in the early modern Ottoman Empire. Recently, literature on the political importance of corporate bodies and voluntary associations has transformed the understanding of the early modern Ottoman polity. Emphasis has shifted from the valorization of centralized institutions to understanding power as negotiated between the court and other stakeholders. My dissertation joins in this collective effort by way of studying preachers, and through them examining the negotiation of religious authority between the central administration and civic groups. I depict preachers as “mediating” religious power between the elite and the non-elite, and between the written and the oral cultures. I argue that the production of religious doctrine and authority took place at this intermediary space of encounter.

This study of early modern Islam with reference to the frame of public sphere has two main implications. Firstly, I present a “preacher-political advisor” type in order to demonstrate that the critical potential of religion was preserved in a new guise. Secondly, I show that informal circles of education gained primacy in the seventeenth century, giving rise to the vernacularization of formal sciences. The close reading of the manuscript sources left by preachers and their pupils also constitutes the first systematic exploration of the intersection between orality and literacy, and an important contribution to the study of Ottoman popular culture.
Terms of Use: This article is made available under the terms and conditions applicable to Other Posted Material, as set forth at http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:dash.current.terms-of-use#LAA
Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:33493572
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