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Bektashism between religious movement and established religion
Tirana, 23 October 2009
The European University in Tirana, in association with the Academy of Sciences and the Centre for Albanian Studies, is organizing an International Symposium on Bektashism. The event features the participation of many international and local experts in the field, including the following keynote speakers:
1.Nathalie Clayer (CNRS France):
"Institutionalisation and Bektashi Religious Authority in Twentieth-Century Albania"
2. David Shankland (Bristol University): TBA
3. Ahmet Karamustafa (Washington University in St. Louis): to be confirmed
4. Albert Doja (Member of the Academy of Sciences):
"From Confraternal Religion to Instrumental Theology in the Political History of Bektashism"
5. Ger Duijzings (SEES University College London): TBA
6. Bernd Fischer (Indiana University): TBA
Recent work on Bektashism demonstrates an innovative and well-argued approach, according to which the system of beliefs and practices related to Bektashism seems to have corresponded to a kind of liberation theology, whereas the structure of Bektashi groups corresponded more or less to the type of religious organization conventionally known as charismatic groups. If this is the case, their spiritual tendency could at times connect with and meet social, cultural and national perspectives. It is the overall combination of these factors that seems to cast heterodox mystics and heretics of any kind as non-conformist and often dangerous for the political establishment, as was the case with the Bektashis as much in Ottoman Anatolia and Modern Turkey as in Albania. However, in other circumstances, they may become politically compliant and reliable, depending on political situations. In this case, when members of the previously persecuted religious minority will acquire a degree of religious and political respectability within society at large, the doctrines of heterodoxy and liberation theology fade into the background. In the end, the heirs of the heterodox promoters of spiritual reform and social movement turn into followers and faithful defenders of a legitimate authority. They become the spokespeople for an institutionalized orthodoxy whose support is sought by the political regime.
Call for Contributions
The International Symposium aims to promote theoretical academic debates and discussions on different approaches to Bektashism from various humanities and social science perspectives, while taking into account, on one hand, the implications of Bektashism to issues of identity and cultural politics and, on the other hand, the similarities and differences of Bektashism in Anatolia and in the Balkans, including Albania.
Submissions are welcome to address the following but not limited issues:
1. Bektashism as a liberation theology: doctrinal and organizational patterns, master and disciple relationships, gnostic and dualist ideas
2. The relationship between heterodoxy and orthodoxy in Bektashism
3. The relationship of Bektashism to political structures
4. The extent of Bektashism in acting as both a conservative and radical force for both social stability and social change in society
5. The relationship of Bektashism to culturalist and nationalist movements
6. The extent of Bektashi background and inspiration in Naim Frashëri’s work and activism
Submission proposals (max. 250 words) should be sent by email and must be accompanied with a short bio (max. 100 words) of the Applicant's academic affiliation/ research topic/general research interests by 30th July 2009. Accepted papers will be announced by 15th August 2009. The approved candidates will have to submit the full-length paper of no more than 7000 words by 15th September 2009. The time presentation made available to speakers will be about 20 minutes followed by a Q&A session. In order to facilitate discussion papers will be made available to all participants in advance and will be published as Symposium Proceedings by UET Press.
Send submission proposals to: email@example.com.
Prof. Dr. Albert Doja, H.D.R.
Member of the Academy of Sciences
Professor of Sociology & Anthropology
European University of Tirana, Albania