The Use of Space by Sufis in Seventeenth-Century Istanbul in Light of Seyyid Hasan’s Diary, The Sohbetnâme

Fatma Deniz

Monday, October 28, 2019 5:00 PM Salon: ŞAKİR KOCABAŞ SALONU

On October 28th 2019, Center for Turkish Studies will host Fatma Deniz* under the discussions theses-articles. Deniz will deliver a speech about “The Use of Space by Sufis in Seventeenth-Century Istanbul in Light of Seyyid Hasan’s Diary, The Sohbetnâme”** based on her thesis.***


“This thesis explores how Sufis in seventeenth-century Istanbul used various types of spaces in their everyday lives, based on a spatial and textual analysis of the Sohbetnâme (1661-1665), a diary written by a Halveti dervish, Seyyid Hasan.

Taking the Sohbetnâme as a case study, I argue that the main principle that informed Sufis' use of space was not institutional, with the lodge serving as the primary site of residence, worship and sociability as suggested in the secondary literature, but rather much more diffused, intimate, and ad hoc, organized around the spaces that the close-knit group of Sufi brethren mentioned in the diary felt comfortable in. This spatial organization of the daily life marginalized the role of the lodge as a communal center for the Sufis in the diary, as they constantly created alternative, "private" and "semi-private" venues for their social and religious gatherings. I also argue that multiplying the locations for such gatherings pushed and pulled these Sufis into an itinerant way of life and blurred the distinction between what we typically think of as "private" and "public" spheres, leading us to question the relevance of these categories.

The present thesis aims to contribute to the growing fields of Sufism studies and everyday life history is in the Ottoman lands, while also addressing engaging with the 'spatial turn' in cultural history. Although they are based on one particular source, the findings discussed in this thesis constitute the ground for the future studies on this topic.”


* PhD Student, Istanbul Sehir University

**Master Thesis, Central European University 2018

*** The speech will be conducted in Turkish.




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