Méropi Anastassiadou, "Sacred Spaces in a Holy City. Crossing Religious Boundaries in 20th Century Istanbul"

Author: CSSH: Social Sciences and Humanities Seminar Series
Time: 16:00
Location: CASE 136

It is common knowledge that despite the importance of secularism in 20th century Turkey, religion remained important. In Istanbul, where Christians and Jews became, during this period, increasingly rare, the « cohabitation of religions » was mainly perpetuated in rituals developed by Muslims in Christian sacred places. To which extent does this practicing of others’ rites go with transgression of religious boundaries? And how often does crossing such boundaries lead to conversion? After reminding briefly some elements of the historical background, useful to analyze current behaviors, this presentation will focus on the main sacred « shared » spaces throughout Istanbul during the last decades.


Méropi Anastassiadou is professor of modern history at the Institut National des Langues 

et Civilisations orientales (INALCO), in Paris. Most of her work concerns the urban societies of Ottoman and post-Ottoman Mediterranean. Her latest books include : (ed.), Patrimoines culturels et fait minoritaire en Turquie et dans les Balkans, Anatoli no 6 (2015) Paris, CNRS éditions, 2015; Les Grecs d’Istanbul au XIXe siècle. Histoire socioculturelle de la communauté de Péra, Leiden-Boston, Brill, 2012.