© Wissenschaftskolleg


Derin Terzioglu, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of History

Bogaziçi University, Istanbul

Born in 1969 in Ankara
Studied History at Princeton University and History and Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University


The Fashioning of a Sunni Orthodoxy and the Entangled Histories of Confession-Building in the Ottoman Empire, 15th-18th Centuries

During my residence at the Wissenschaftskolleg, I will be co-writing a book with Tijana Krstic, that will present the results of our five-year ERC-funded research project (OTTOCONFESSION) on the formation of a Sunni orthodoxy and the entangled histories of Muslim, Christian and Jewish confession-building in the core lands of the Ottoman Empire between the 15th and 18th centuries.
Sunni-Shii confessional polarization and its ramifications for the diverse Sunni, Alevi and confessionally ambiguous Sufi (and non-Sufi) communities in Anatolia and the Balkans constitute a principal focus of my research. I am particularly interested in the responses of members of these communities to religious indoctrination, be it in the form of compliance or resistance, subterfuge or indifference, and in the social and cultural codes that allowed certain forms and venues of cultural expression such as poetry to be relatively immune to confessionalizing pressures.
Secondly, I investigate the challenges that were presented to the Ottoman state-sponsored scholarly elites' formulations of Sunni orthodoxy from among the ranks of the more "puritanical" Sunni scholars and the social, political and intellectual currents and dynamics that made these challenges more visible after the 16th century. Lay participation in scholarly debates and the role of preachers and preaching are among the topics that I plan to discuss under this rubric.
Thirdly, I look into the evolution of rival discourses on morality in both "public" spaces, such as mosques and coffeehouses and in "private" or socially more exclusive spaces, such as the home. The impact of religious indoctrination and social disciplining on the formation of well-defined gender and generational roles within as well as outside the family, the maintenance and policing of communal boundaries, and cross-communal interactions and socializing are the principal topics that I shall be examining under this last heading.

Recommended Reading

Terzioglu, Derin. "Where Ilm-i Hal Meets Catechism: Islamic Manuals of Religious Instruction in the Ottoman Empire in the Age of Confessionalization." Past and Present 220 (2013): 79-114.
-. "How to Conceptualize Ottoman Sunnitization: A Historiographical Discussion." Turcica 44 (2012-13): 301-338.
-. "Man in the Image of God in the Image of the Times: Sufi First-Person Narratives and the Diary of Niyazi-i Misri (1618-1694)." Studia Islamica 94 (2002): 139-165.

Publikationen aus der Fellowbibliothek

Terzioglu, Derin ( Oxford, 2013)
Where ʻİlm-i Ḥāl meets catechism : Islamic manuals of religious instruction in the Ottoman empire in the age of confessionalization

Terzioglu, Derin ( Louvain [u.a.], 2013)
How to conceptualize Ottoman Sunnitization : a historiographical discussion

Terzioglu, Derin ( Leiden, 2002)
Man in the image of God in the image of the times : Sufi self-narratives and the diary of Niyizi-i Misri (1618-94)


The Fashioning of a Sunni Orthodoxy and the Entangeled Histories of Confession-Building in the Ottoman Empire, 15th-18th Centuries