Contested Conversions to Islam: Narratives of Religious Change in the Early Modern Ottoman Empire

Contested Conversions to Islam: Narratives of Religious Change in the Early Modern Ottoman Empire


By (author) Tijana Krstic

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  • Publisher: Stanford University Press
  • Format: Hardback | 280 pages
  • Dimensions: 157mm x 231mm x 25mm | 499g
  • Publication date: 13 May 2011
  • Publication City/Country: Palo Alto
  • ISBN 10: 0804773173
  • ISBN 13: 9780804773171
  • Illustrations note: maps
  • Sales rank: 1,160,644

Product description

This book explores how Ottoman Muslims and Christians understood the phenomenon of conversion to Islam from the 15th to the 17th centuries. The Ottomans ruled over a large non-Muslim population and conversion to Islam was a contentious subject for all communities, especially Muslims themselves. Ottoman Muslim and Christian authors sought to define the boundaries and membership of their communities while promoting their own religious and political agendas. Tijana Krstic argues that the production and circulation of narratives about conversion to Islam was central to the articulation of Ottoman imperial identity and Sunni Muslim "orthodoxy" in the long 16th century. Placing the evolution of Ottoman attitudes toward conversion and converts in the broader context of Mediterranean-wide religious trends and the Ottoman rivalry with the Habsburgs and Safavids, Contested Conversions to Islam draws on a variety of sources, including first-person conversion narratives and Orthodox Christian neomartyologies, to reveal the interplay of individual, (inter)communal, local, and imperial initiatives that influenced the process of conversion.

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Author information

Tijana Krstic is Associate Professor in the Medieval Studies Department at Central European University in Budapest.

Review quote

"This book raises valuable and important questions about the role of syncretism and tolerance in Ottoman (and indeed, other) religious experiences... Kristic's conclusions will force historians to question whether the history of the Ottoman Empires should, or even can be, decoupled from that of the West... I hope that not only scholars of the Islamic world but also Europeanists and historians of religion will seriously engage with the ideas and issues raised here." - John J. Curry, American Historical Review "[T]his makes Contested Conversions to Islam a tour de force. Krstic offers us a wealth of illuminating insights into early modern Ottoman history and a unique historical exploration of Ottoman Islam... [H]er achievements should be of value not only to Ottomanists or early modernists but indeed to all of us interested in multiconfessional and multicultural societies, whether in the early modern world or in that of today." - Dina L Gall, Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa & the Middle East "Tijana Krstic's study offers a fascinating perspective... Krstic accomplishes her task of contextualizing and historicizing the phenomenon of conversion to Islam in a broader Mediterranean context in a most impressive manner. Her extraordinary langauge skills enable her to crisscross European and Ottoman sources, and thus to have a broad perspective on conversion narratives." - Laura Binz, Renaissance Quarterly "Tijana Krstic has written a wonderful book... [T]he book also marks a major contribution. Several scholars have considered conversion in specific Islamic contexts, but few manage, as Krstic does, to use the phenomenon as the window onto a bigger social and cultural picture." - K. E. Fleming, Slavic Review "Missiologists wrestlying with the 'Jesus-mosque' and C-6 forms of contextualization - in which converts to Christianity remain outwardly indistinguishable from Muslims - will find Krstic 's work of particular interest... Krstic's work is a good springboard for discussion..." - Larry Poston, Missiology