Dervish Piety and Alevism in Late Medieval Anatolia | Zeynep Oktay Uslu

E359 | In this episode, we explore the evolution of Abdal and Bektashi doctrine from the 14th to 17th centuries. The Abdals of Rum and the Bektashis were two dervish groups in Anatolia who by the 16th century would merge to become the Bektashi Sufi order. Many Bektashi beliefs and practices are also inter-connected with those of Alevi communities. By taking a closer look at Abdal and Bektashi poetry, we examine how poetry, fiction, and other aspects of dervish piety evolved into the core beliefs of contemporary Alevism in Turkey. More at Zeynep Oktay Uslu holds a BA in Comparative Literature from Darmouth College and a PhD in Islamic Civilisation from Sorbonne University École Pratique des Hautes Etudes. She currently teaches at the Department of Turkish Language and Literature at Boğaziçi University. Her research interests include: The formation and historical evolution of Bektashism and Alevism, dervish piety, vernacularization, Islam in Anatolia and the Balkans in the Beglik and early Ottoman periods. Matthew Ghazarian is a Ph.D. Candidate in Columbia University's Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, African Studies. His research focuses on the intersections of natural disaster, humanitarianism, and sectarianism, in central and eastern Anatolia between 1839 and 1893. Işın Taylan is a PhD candidate in History at Yale University. Her research examines the Ottoman intellectuals’ production of geographical knowledge in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. CREDITS Episode No. 359 Release Date: 20 April 2018 Recording Location: Istanbul, Turkey Audio editing by Matthew Ghazarian Music: Katibim (Üsküdar'a Gider iken) - Safiye Ayla Images and bibliography courtesy of Zeynep Oktay Uslu available at

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