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The Double Bind Of Race And Religion: The Conversion Of The Dönme To Turkish Secular Nationalism

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Chapter Summary

This chapter, based mainly on Dönme writings and material provided by descendants of Dönme, is the first to describe and analyze Dönme attempts to come to terms with the conversion from a religious to a secular national identity in the period between the waning years of the Ottoman Empire and the first two decades of the Turkish nation-state. It explores how the Dönme attempted to explain the group's past in the Ottoman Empire and their future in the Turkish republic. The chapter illustrates the inherent tension of creating a single, homogenizing, and secular national identity from a plural society that had been organized around religious identities. By investigating the conversion of the Dönme to secular nationalism and the religious and racial hindrances they faced, the chapter contributes to the scholarly literature concerning identication, nationalism, and citizenship.

Keywords: Dönme; Ottoman Empire; Turkish Secular Nationalism



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