Revisiting 'Turkish Fatalism'; Or, Why Ottoman Theology Matters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Fatalism has become a "dirty word" for Ottoman historians. For most of us, the term evokes Orientalist tropes of a piece with Ottoman “decline,” “despotism,” or “sensuality.” While this is understandable in view of invidious stereotypes, I feel it is misguided. In this article, I revisit fatalism in the early modern Ottoman Empire, both to provoke and make a point about our field, namely its neglect of all things theological. It takes fatalism seriously as a theological issue and for what it can reveal about our subjects: Muslim inhabitants of the empire, and how they saw their place as worldly creatures, spiritual beings, and moral agents in a larger divine order.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-38
Number of pages30
JournalAca'ib: Occasional Papers on the Ottoman Perceptions of the Supernatural
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2022


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