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Confessional Ambiguity vs. Confessional Polarization: Politics and the Negotiation of Religious Boundaries in the Ilkhanate

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Chapter Summary

This chapter argues that specific political and geographic contexts have to be taken into account. For instance, at the height of centralized Chinggisid power in the Ilkhanate, confessional boundaries sharpened significantly. It appears that the degree to which religio-political groups had access to political and economic power had a noticeable impact on their relationships with members of other confessional groups: The greater the access to political power, economic resources, and participation in the dominant religio-cultural and political discourse, the higher the tendency to demarcate boundaries, religious and otherwise. The Ilkhanate is at the height of Chinggisid power. They are evidence for the confessional boundaries that were strongly accentuated during some of the long Later Middle Period of Islamicate history, when the political hierarchies were at their steepest, and its protagonists showed strong tendencies of confessional polarization instead.

Keywords: Chinggisid power; confessional polarization; Ilkhanate; religio-political groups



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