A lecture by Walter Feldman
The musical ritual of the Mevlevi or Whirling Dervishes (of the Sufi
poet Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi, 1207-1273) originated in the 15th
century and has been practiced in something like its current form
since the 17th century. In 1925 it was prohibited by the new Turkish
Republic, it was reinstated as a cultural commemoration in 1953, and
in 2005 it was declared a masterpiece of the oral and intangible
heritage of humanity by Unesco. Officially sponsored performances of
the ritual abroad helped to increase tourism to Turkey by 30 percent
in 2007, which had been declared Mevlana Year by Unesco. Given these
contradictory facts, what had the Mevlevi ritual been in the past, and
what is it today?
Cost: Free and open to the public
Sponsor(s): Center for Near Eastern Studies
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