The Genesis and Surge of the History of Sufism in the 20th Century: A Case of Historiographical Syncronicity or An Attempt at Periodization


This article attempts to understand and periodize the development of twentieth century Turkish historiography on Sufism. After grouping modern Sufi studies in Turkey into two as descriptive and analytical on the basis of their approaches, the article will focus on the second group and periodize its evolution. The history of analytical approaches in Sufi studies around the 1970s can roughly be divided into two as periods of genesis and surge. The first period, which is called “the genesis”, is a period of exploration that witnessed the establishment of the field, the discovery of major related historical sources, and the rise of Sufi orders as a research subject within the expanding field of social history in Turkey and abroad. The second period called “the surge” is a time when the studies of the third and fourth generation scholars led to a quantitative and qualitative upsurge in Sufi studies under the influence of contemporary developments in Western historiography. Also in this period we observe the establishment of major historical sources and fundamental paradigms of the field.

Keywords: XX. Century Historiography, Anatolian Sufism, Analytical Approaches, Fuat Köprülü, Ahmet Yaşar Ocak.

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