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

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

Synopsis

This book explores how Ottoman Muslims and Christians understood the phenomenon of conversion to Islam from the 15th to the 17th centuries, when the Ottoman Empire was at the height of its power and conversions to Islam peaked. Because the Ottomans ruled over a large non-Muslim population and extended greater opportunities to converts than to native-born Muslims, conversion to Islam was a contentious subject for all communities, especially Muslims themselves. By producing narratives about conversion, Ottoman Muslim and Christian authors sought to define the boundaries and membership of their communities while promoting their own religious and political agendas. 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 also introduces new sources, such as 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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