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Coverage for grant RA-50040-06

Advanced Fellowships for Research in the Humanities in Turkey
A. Reinhart, American Research Institute in Turkey

Grant details:

Review of Markus Dressler, Writing Religion: The Making of Turkish Alevi Islam (Review)
Author(s): Ayhan Kaya
Publication: Middle East Journal
Date: 4/28/2014
Abstract: Markus Dressler’s work is a critical and elaborate reading of the ways in which the Alevi identity in Turkey has been historically and politically constructed. The main premise of Writing Religion is that the Alevi Question in Turkey is historically related to the formation of secular Turkish nationalism. He basically questions the assumption that Alevis are mainly ethnically Turkish, and that they are syncretic in their belief system. He argues that such assumptions are relatively very new, and date back to the early years of Turkish nationalism propagated by first the Committee for Unity and Progress, and then by the Kemalists. Tracing the footsteps of a particular kind of scholarship of the founders of contemporary Turkish nationalism concentrating on the Turkic and Islamic elements of the Alevi-Bektashi belief system, Dressler concludes that Turkish Alevism is nothing but a construct, aiming at the incorporation of a heterogeneous group of people into the newly established Turkish

Review of Maureen Jackson, Mixing Musics: Turkish Jewry and the Urban Landscape of a Sacred Song (Review)
Author(s): Walter Feldman
Publication: International Journal of Middle East Studies
Date: 8/1/2014
Abstract: The review offers a summary and appraisal of the monograph and places the work in the context of ongoing studies on Turkish -Jewish music.

Review of Maureen Jackson, Mixing Musics: Turkish Jewry and the Urban Landscape of a Sacred Song (Review)
Author(s): Martin Stokes
Publication: The American Historical Review
Date: 10/1/2014
Abstract: This study of Maftirim, a paraliturgical musical suite sung by men in Istanbul synagogues on Saturday afternoons, is a valuable addition to a growing literature on the cultural life of minorities in Ottoman Turkey and the modern Turkish Republic. Music, Maureen Jackson shows, has been vitally important to Jewish community life and to its sense of a past and a future. It also mediates the community’s relations with its neighbors, in particular Istanbul’s Greeks, Armenians, and the Muslim majority. Reading about Maftirim, we learn important things about the cultural and political choices the Ottoman and early Republican Turkish minorities faced; about recreational life in Istanbul’s coffee shops, meyhanes, and gazinos; and about the religious politics and ersatz cosmopolitanism of Recep Tayyip Erdog ?an’s Turkey today. This book is elegantly written, deeply researched, and beautifully illustrated.

Review of Markus Dressler, Writing Religion: The Making of Turkish Alevi Islam (Review)
Author(s): Riza Yildirim
Publication: Anthropology of the Contemporary Middle East and Central Eurasia
Date: 3/16/2015
Abstract: by Riza Yildirim. The religious historiography of Anatolia still works within the parameters set by Fuat Koprulu (d. 1966). Koprulu's hegemony lingers not only in terms of the sources and historical data that he first introduced, but also in terms of methodology and conceptualization. An emerging current of scholarship has criticized Koprulu's works. In many aspects, Markus Dressler's book is a culmination of this line of critique. Two achievements of the book distinguish Dressler's work. First, unlike earlier critiques, which focused on specific arguments made by Koprulu, "Writing Religion" embarks on a systematic analysis of Koprulu's intellectual production. Second, the book successfully situates the Koprulu paradigm within the broader framework of Turkish nationalist discourse, which advanced in conjunction with political momentum and the modernist project.

The Origins of Pan-Turkism. Review of James Meyer, Turks Across Empires (Review)
Author(s): Sener Akturk
Publication: Turkish Review
Date: 9/1/2015
Abstract: James Meyer’s “Turks across Empires” is a valuable and intriguing reassessment of the origins of pan-Turkism through an in-depth examination of some of its leading figures, most importantly Yusuf Akçura, Ahmet Agaoglu and Ismail Gasprinskii. Since this reviewer works on Soviet, Russian and Turkish politics with a focus on the politics of ethnicity and nationalism, it was a great pleasure to read this book, which sparked many comments and suggestions for further research. Meyer’s book is “revisionist” in the sense that it successfully challenges many assumptions and arguments in the study of Russia’s Muslims and pan-Turkism. What clearly emerges is that key figures such as Akçura and Gasprinskii did not aspire to an independent Turkic state but rather for most of their lives strived for cultural autonomy and equal citizenship for Russian Muslims within a pluralistic, constitutional order in Russia.

Review of James Meyer, Turks Across Empires (Review)
Author(s): Halit Dundar Akarca
Publication: CritCom
Date: 1/21/2016
Abstract: Based on an impressive array of sources from Turkey, Russia, Ukraine, Georgia and Azerbaijan, James Meyer's monograph not only expands the knowledge about the Muslims of Russia but also provides a widely applicable argument about instrumentalization of identity in different political contexts. Meyer tells the story of Pan-Turkists anew, elucidating critical historical events that shaped the Muslim communities of Russia in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Meyer argues that national and cultural identities are not immutable concepts and change according to political and institutional context. The book is a valuable contribution to the fields of Ottoman, Turkish and Russian histories, but also to the broader literature on nationalism, borderland studies, and imperial governance.

Review of Nicolas Trepanier, Foodways and Daily Life in Medieval Anatolia (Review)
Author(s): Axel B. Corlu
Publication: International Journal of Middle East Studies
Date: 1/2/2016
Abstract: This volume is an ambitious, nuanced, and well-written study that focuses on an understudied period of Anatolia, from a relatively rare lens even in the wider field of history: food. Using food to understand an entire society, involving layers from economics to culture and daily life, while not new, remains a valuable and innovative approach, especially in the context of 14th-century Anatolia, where no such research has ever been conducted. The book covers the connections between food production, exchanges, and the 'everyday' nature of these connections with food. It is a comprehensive study of subjects as varied as agriculture, pastoralism, rituals of consumption, and the impact of large scale events such as wars upon the daily rhythms of people and their food. Despite the variety of subjects covered, the unifying theme is always food, and its ability to create relational experiences for people, which in turn, tells us more about 14th century Anatolian society as a whole.

Review of Nicolas Trepanier, Foodways and Daily Life in Medieval Anatolia (Review)
Author(s): Naomi F. Miller
Publication: Journal of Interdisciplinary History
Date: 4/22/2016
Abstract: Foodways touch on many aspects of daily life—agriculture, cuisine, diet, health, religion (including fasting), and trade. Trépanier’s engagingly written study of fourteenth-century Central Anatolia is based primarily on passing references in contemporary written sources that are relevant to these subjects—narratives (hagiographies and chronicles) and waqfiyas, which, as legal documents that established charitable foundations, were preserved and sometimes recopied. Trépanier mines these sources, taking into account how social relationships of the writers and presumed audiences may have biased the information contained therein. A smattering [End Page 621] of archaeological evidence informs some of the discussion. The study provides a detailed analysis of textual sources, but it does not reach broader conclusions.

Review of James Meyer, Turks across Empires (Review)
Author(s): Michael Kemper
Publication: Journal of World History
Date: 3/1/2016
Abstract: This book is about a group of Muslim intellectuals from the late Russian Empire who were politically active in Russia (including in the set-up of the Ittifaq movement/party and its congresses of 1905 and 1906), but who were also in close contact with the Ottoman Empire, where they contributed to the journal Türk Yurdu (Turkic homeland), which became the mouthpiece of what became known as Pan-Turkism. The major personalities in this monograph are the Volga Tatar Yusuf Akchura, Ahmed Aghaoghlu from the South Caucasus, and the Crimean Tatar Ismail Gasprinskii. The former two, and several others, eventually ended up in Istanbul when World War I broke out.
URL: http://10.1353/jwh.2016.0078

Review of Bogac Ergene, The Economics of Ottoman Justice (Review)
Author(s): Jared Rubin
Publication: (Economic History Association)
Date: 6/1/2017
Abstract: Metin Cosgel and Bogaç Ergene’s The Economics of Ottoman Justice employs the best aspects of historical research and economic analysis in a compelling account of Ottoman courts. This is very much a work of history: the authors impressively collect reams of archival data on trials, settlements, and registrations from the courts of Kastamonu, a relatively small Ottoman town in what is now north-central Turkey. But it is also very much a work of economics: the authors utilize insights from the law and economics literature to analyze the data in a systematic way, deriving testable predictions and testing them with regression analyses.

Review of Bogac Ergene, The Economics of Ottoman Justice (Review)
Author(s): Ulas Karakoc
Publication: Economic History Review
Date: 1/18/2018
Abstract: Metin Cosgel and Bogaç Ergene's The economics of Ottoman justice is an extensive quantitative study of the Ottoman court in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Kastamonu, a small city of its time. Based on all (not a sample of) court documents collected for three decades, the authors aim to identify the characteristics of the court's clients, the issues they bought to the court, their legal strategies, and the trial outcomes. The book notably stands out as the first systematic quantitative micro-analysis of the Ottoman court. More than anything else, it represents a methodological contribution and challenge to the long-standing scholarship that has kept away from the use of statistics to study Ottoman legal sources.

Review of A Companion to Early Modern Istanbul (Review)
Author(s): James Grehan
Publication: YILLIK: Annual of Istanbul Studies
Date: 4/24/2022
Abstract: A Companion to Early Modern Istanbul is the culmination of a generation of new research. Each of the chapters will serve as a valuable overview of topics ranging across many different subfields of history. Readers will not only find the latest historiographical debates, but a trove of information about primary documents and essential studies from the historical literature. The collection will stand as a landmark in Istanbul studies for its breadth of research and willingness to re-examine received ideas. Students who are looking for new ideas and questions about the history of Istanbul would do well to start here.