The Literature on Caliphate Debates from the Ottoman Empire to the Republican Era: A Critical Approach

Abstract Historically a significant institution and idea(!), the Caliphate's abolition was a (contested and highly debated) cornerstone in the process of Turkey's political secularization. Thus, the related existing literature is characterized by fragmentation in ideological, thematic and methodological terms. The fragmented nature of these debates, which began in the late 19th century leading up to the Caliphate's demise in 1924, is not just limited to the political and intellectual circles, but also detected in academic (and quasi-academic) works. In this context, this article first reviews the primary texts on the Caliphate, which functioned as the ground over which the Caliphate debates took place; it then critically examines the secondary literature, which emerged and quickly expanded within and outside Turkey during the second half of the 20th century.


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