Recreating Pluralism; Socio-Religious Continuity in Post-Ottoman Societies is an international academic program, critically studying interaction at social spaces in Post-Ottoman societies from the Balkans to the Levant, with possible comparison and extension to other Post-Imperial societies. The program revolves around a conference and workshop program, and can be further expanded to an academic research and educational program. Each conference touches on the general theme of Recreating Pluralism and lights out and engages one particular kind of social space or contact interface.
The first inaugural workshop in Istanbul in 2017 for example focussed on “Shrines”. This successful conference became the impetus for a second workshop on shrines, to be held 29-31 August 2018 at the Finnish Institute in the Middle East in Beirut, Lebanon and to be leading to an edited volume, to be published as planned by Edinburgh University Press, in cooperation with Aga Khan University Center for the Study of Muslim Civilizations in London. Future workshops and conference are being planned in for example the Balkans.
The program touches, depending on the focus of its parts, on different overlapping thematic fields and academic disciplines. Thematic fields are public and social spaces, the social interactions in the broadest interdisciplinary sense in and around them, religious and civil interaction and worship, the creation of meaning, the continuity of Ottoman heritage, modernity, religion and secularism. This is an inter- and trans-disciplinary program stratling anthropology, sociology, political science, history, religious studies, as well as on occassion other fields such as architecture, city planning and policy.
The program was initiated by Dr. Olof Heilo, Deputy Director, Swedish Research Institute Istanbul (SRII), and Ruben Elsinga, PhD Candidate ESHCC, EUR, who is the overall Program Manager of Recreating Pluralism. Prof. dr. Leif Stenberg, Former Director, Center for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES), Lund University, now Director Aga Khan University Center for the Studies of Muslim Civilizations and Prof. dr. Dick Douwes, Former Dean, Erasmus School for History, Culture and Communications (ESHCC), Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) are its founding senior members. The program has since found association with different regional and international academics from Brazil to Russia and from the Balkans to the Levant.