Lecture series: Devlet and Divan: Mystical and State Authorities in Early Modernity

The lecture series is organized by CEMS juniour members Samuel Huckleberry (MA, History), Cankat Kaplan (PhD, Medieval Studies), and Cevat Sucu (MA, Medieval Studies).

The series broadly surveys the tensions between state-curated “orthodoxy-in-the-making” and mysticism in a comparative perspective. Building on recent efforts by scholars of sovereignty, peoples living on the margins, literature, and intellectual history, the series will aim towards a framework of analyzing interactions between this- and other-worldly power. Our ambition for the series centers on questions concerning how empires use mystical elements within to support their claims to legitimacy. On the other hand, we also want to ask about the agency of mystics themselves: how does Sufism interact with – or even challenge – temporal power?

We invite historians of the Timurid, Mamluk, Mughal, Ottoman and Safavid realms to discuss historiographical evolutions, conceptual challenges, and their perspectives on this tension. With each lecture building on one another, the series aims to ask bold questions as well as encourage a robust discourse between different fields and traditions.


Azfar Moin (University of Texas at Austin), "The Caliph as a Relic of Sovereignty: A View from Inner Asia,"  November 26, 2019, 5:30 pm.

Giuseppe Cecere (University of Bologna), "The Friends of God are the True Kings. Sufi Perspectives on Sanctity and Sovereignty in Mamluk Egypt," January 30, 2020, 5:30 pm

Ferenc Péter Csirkés (Sabanci University)."Shiite Propaganda between Iran and the Ottoman Empire: Gharibi of Menteshe." February 13, 2020. 5:30 pm.

Sajjad Rizvi (University of Exeter), " 'Shah-e darvish-dust': Sufism and Political Theololgy in Safavid Isfahan under 'Abbas II."  February 27, 2020, 5:30pm.