Mona F. Hassan F'12
ACLS Fellowship Program 2012
Religion and History
Longing for the Lost Caliphate: Religious Imaginaries of State and Community among Premodern and Modern Muslims
This project explores Muslim engagement and entanglement with the notion of an Islamic caliphate following two poignant moments of symbolic loss, the Mongol destruction of the Abbasid caliphate in 1258 and the Turkish nationalist abolition of the Ottoman caliphate in 1924, in comparative perspective. It examines what Muslims across Afro-Eurasia imagined to be lost with the disappearance of the Abbasid and Ottoman caliphates and how they attempted to recapture that perceived loss, and in doing so redefined the caliphate for their times, under shifting circumstances. Vivid collective memories of the caliphate created a shared sense of community among disparate peoples at the same time as they gave rise to differing and competing visions of the community’s past, present, and future.