This talk explores the intricate story behind the origins of the Safavids from a humble mystical order in northwestern Iran into an ambitious empire. The author argues that the transformation of the Safaviyya order into a Shiite political entity was as a product of specific socio-political and religious dynamics of the so called “age of confessionalization.” Examining the true origins of the Safavid Empire is crucial to understanding not only the socio-political and religious characteristics of the era and its influence on this process, but also the spread of the Safavid sympathy (under the name of Qizilbash) among surrounding regions, mainly Ottoman Anatolia, Iraq, and Syria like a “wild fire.”
Lecture: Origins of the Safavid Empire in Iran: Sectarian Rupture or Continuity?
Ayse Baltacioglu-Brammer is an Assistant Professor of History and Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at NYU.
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Ayse Baltacioglu-Brammer is an Assistant Professor of History and Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at NYU. She specializes in Middle Eastern history with a focus on early modern Ottoman and Safavid Empires. Her new book titled Sect and Sectarianism in the Early Modern Middle East: Ottoman Sunnism, Safavid Shiism, and the Qizilbash, explores the Sunni-Shiite divergence in the early modern period, not merely as a religiously derived, but as a meticulously carried out geo-political and fiscal battle that formed the base of the sectarian conflict in the region.