Building Confessional Identities in the Ottoman Empire (16th-18th centuries)

Cesare Santus's picture
February 6, 2017
Subject Fields: 
Early Modern History and Period Studies, European History / Studies, Islamic History / Studies, Religious Studies and Theology, Asian History / Studies

The collaboration between political and religious authorities, directed at imposing religious uniformity and at establishing denominational boundaries in the course of Early Modern times, has traditionally been investigated within the interpretative framework of ‘Confessionalization’ - a concept originally developed and applied only to the European (and especially German) case. Nonetheless, recent historiography has begun to investigate the conditions that shaped the construction of a Sunni Islamic orthodoxy between the late Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, by considering the possibility of applying the historiographical paradigm of Confessionalization also to the Ottoman Empire.

In following and broadening this approach, the aim of this workshop is to carry on in a comparative way a reflection upon the progressive construction of confessional identities within the communities of the Ottoman Empire, a process which was almost always determined by the confrontation or clash with a rival religious group (Sunni vs. Shiite Muslims, Orthodox vs. Catholic Christians, Sephardic vs. charismatic and mystic Jewish movements) or with the members of the other communities. A special attention will be placed on the two-folded nature of this process (top-down and bottom-up) as well on the possible comparisons and on the interweaving relationship between the European and the Ottoman 'Confessionalization'.

The program can be downloaded here:

Contact Info: 


École Française de Rome, Piazza Navona 62 - Rome, Italy

Scientific organization: Cesare Santus (École française de Rome)


Claire Challéat, Assistante scientifique, Époques moderne et contemporaine

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