1st Edition

Performing Post-Tariqa Sufism Making Sacred Space with Mevlevi and Rifai Zikir in Turkey

By Esra Çizmeci Copyright 2023

    This ethnographic research project examines the generation of post-tariqa Tasavvuf (Sufism: a spiritual practice and philosophy recognised as the inner dimension of Islam) in a variety of private, semi-public, public, secular and sacred urban spaces in present-day Turkey.

    Through extensive field research in minority Sufi communities, this book investigates how devotees of specific orders maintain, adapt, mobilise, and empower their beliefs and values through embodied acts of their Sufi followers. Using an ethnographic methodology and theories derived from performance studies, Esra Çizmeci examines the multiple ways in which the post-tariqa Mevlevi and Rifai practice is formed in present-day Turkey, such as through the authority of the spiritual teacher; the individual and collective performance of Sufi rituals; nefs (self) training; and, most importantly, the practice of Sufi doctrines in everyday life through the production of sacred spaces. Drawing on the theories of performance, she examines how the Sufi way of living and spaces are created anew in the process of each devotee’s embodied action.

    This book is informed by theories in performance studies, anthropology, religious studies, and cultural studies and places current Sufi practices in a historical perspective.

    Introduction: Post-Tariqa Sufi Space in Turkey

    Part I: Restoring

    Chapter 1. Historical Perspectives: Post-tariqa Mevlevi Devotion

    Chapter 2. Designing a Post-tariqa Communal Sufi Training

    Part II: Transmitting

    Chapter 3. Whirling "Anytime and AnyPlace"

    Part III: Transforming

    Chapter 4. Sacralisation of the Body and Mind

    Chapter 5. World as Manyness of Reality





    Esra Çizmeci is a performance studies scholar and an ethnographer. Her research interests include performance in the everyday, performance for actors and non-actors, Islam and performance, performance theory and ethnographic methods, the study of minority cultures as well as community performance.