Research Programs: Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars

Period of Performance

4/1/2008 - 3/31/2009

Funding Totals

$50,400.00 (approved)
$50,400.00 (awarded)

Religion and Modernity in Ottoman Syria and Palestine, 18th-19th Centuries

FAIN: FB-53940-08

James Paul Grehan
Portland State University (Portland, OR 97207-0751)

My research will look at religious life in Syria and Palestine during the 18th and 19th centuries. One of the main objectives is to show how religious practice and belief in premodern times were often quite different from the way that we are used to imagining them. Rejecting the usual emphasis on doctrine and law, my project will build a social history of religion, reconstructing everyday forms of worship in both towns and villages through a wide variety of historical sources. It will look at the experiences of different religious communities--Muslim, Christian, and Jewish--and demonstrate how people participated in a common folk culture which extended to many everyday religious customs and attitudes. I will then show how this folk religiosity gradually came under attack in modern times. The ultimate goal of my research, which will result in a book, is to bring the Middle East more fully into debates about the cultural transformations inaugurated by modernity.