With scholars from Brazil to Moscow, presenting on cases from Albania to Iraq, the Inaugural Workshop 2017 of Recreating Pluralism at the Swedish Research Institute Istanbul (SRII), was a great success. Papers / presentations dynamically engaged both the broader theme of the research program “Recreating Pluralism; Socio-religious Continuity in Post-Ottoman Societies” and the focus on “Shrines (later broadened to Sacred Spaces); Places of Connection and Contestation”.
On the first day, the initiators of the program gave their welcome addresses introducing the two overlapping themes of this inaugural workshop. This was followed by three lectures in the afternoon. On tuesday we explored Istanbul itself,touching on the continuity of Post-Ottoman pluralism, by visiting the struggling Greek and Jewish minority communities, followed by the thriving religious space of the Islamic site of Eyub, where we also further visited some shrines and enjoyed the view.
Wednesday was devoted to lectures on respectively case studies in the Balkans and the Levant, some touching more on shrines and sacred spaces in general, and others dealing with other cases of pluralist interaction. We finished the day with initial discussions in which quite naturally some interesting thematic focus already started to emerge.
Thursday the presentations engaged the themes discussed through a richness of
empirical case studies. Due to the enthusiasm and engagement of the participants and lecturers with these cases after the presentations, we had to leave the final discussion to Friday morning. On friday morning the discussion engaged different perspectives and provided the beginning of a perspective of overarching themes for a first edited volume, which became quite inevitable after such an engaging and successful week.
There are currently plans in the making to have a smaller scale follow-up workshop, potentially in St. Petersburg, Russia, in the Winter of 2017. This meeting will serve to further discuss papers and to prepare them for publication in an edited volume.