Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the IS-LE activities scheduled for the current year might need to be rescheduled. Please stay tuned to know more about the rescheduling of activities.

Atlas of Almohad Architecture (ATARAL)

We want to bring to your attention a great new resource for architecture carried out under the rule of the Almohads! 

The project “Atlas of Almohad Architecture (ATARAL)” was realized by the financing of the Ministry of Science and Innovation of Spain. The duration of the program is scheduled to last until June 2023. At the time of its opening to the public (February 2022) the online atlas contains a still limited number of buildings that will be increased gradually according to future information that will become available. 

Visit: https://www.ataral.es/

The Mosque in Transformation

Date: 30th June  – 2nd July 2022
Place: Córdoba (Spain)

The mosque, in its diverse architectural and visual expressions and as an institution, is considered one of the most significant manifestations of Islamic cultures. While the basic liturgical concept as a place of prayer is universal, a mosque can acquire further functions, and its form has proven extraordinarily malleable across and within regions and times. Scholarship has dealt with this diversity in studies on formal and conceptual evolution, typologies, and regional or local traditions.

Over recent decades many questions became more complicated or persist unanswered. The formal and conceptual sources of the earliest materially extant mosques remain a matter of debate and speculation. Transformations in the visuality, the layout, the elements, and the fittings of the mosque and its place in urban planning have been described from an architectural, archaeological, and historical angle and may require more explanation from a liturgical, religious, social, or ideological perspective. The re-use of mosques in a changing environment (such as in the Iberian Peninsula) has been documented, while its implications for artistic and cultural heritage call for discussion.  

The 17th Colloquium of the Ernst Herzfeld Society invites recent research on the mosque in transformation, as an architecture and a visual and functional space in continuous evolution, transcending notions of the mosque as a fixed entity. The organizers invite papers that deal with transformations in the visuality, materiality, and concept of the mosque as seen in architecture and decoration, in furnishings and liturgical elements, in specific functions at specific times, in their changes including usage by other religious communities, and with reference to social, ideological, and historical currents.   If you want to submit a paper proposal for the graduate meeting (separate call), please send
your title and abstract to Suzanne Compagnon: suzanne.compagnon@univie.ac.at 

If you want to submit a paper proposal for the graduate meeting (separate call), please send your title and abstract to Suzanne Compagnon: suzanne.compagnon@univie.ac.at

New Book: ‘Otherness’ in the Middle Ages

This new book is the most extensive collective volume on ‘Otherness’ in the Middle Ages so far. 

The methodological introduction and the 18 contributions of this volume demonstrate the great diversity of the theme and its different manifestations and perspectives. They tackle the problem from distinct angles and disciplines (history, art history, archaeology, literary history, and philology) in a wide chronological and thematic frame, using different methodological approaches, dealing with different areas (from Northern and Southern Europe to Byzantium and India), perspectives (including law, social order, the past, a sea), and diverse kinds of sources. They examine all kinds of ‘Otherness’ mentioned above, highlight demarcation and rejection, aversion or acceptance, assimilation and integration, thus relativizing a strict dichotomy between ‘the Self’ and ‘the Other’ or between inside and outside. This volume is so far the most comprehensive attempt to tackle the huge problem of ‘Otherness’ in the Middle Ages.

The editors: 
Hans-Werner Goetz is professor emeritus of medieval history at the University of Hamburg, Germany
Ian Wood is professor emeritus of medieval history at the University of Leeds

More information under: http://www.brepols.net/Pages/ShowProduct.aspx?prod_id=IS-9782503594026-1

Upcoming Summer School: “The Qur’an in inter-Christian polemic”

Date: 13th – 17th June 2022

Venue: Nantes, Maison des Sciences de l’Homme Ange Guépin
5 allée Jacques Berque, 44021 Nantes Cedex 1
Simone Veil Amphitheatre

How have Christian authors in Europe used and appropriated the Qur’an?   We are interested in how the Qur’an was used as a historical and linguistic archive, as a mine of heretical ideas and as a tool used in confessional rivalries. Our focus will not be restricted to the main confessional camps, Roman Catholic and Protestant, but will also include the many ways in which groups of the so called radical Reformation (Socianians and other anti-Trinitarian movements), different groups inside the Roman Catholic world, as well as Deist, Muslim and Jewish authors in Europe, used the Qur’an in their polemical writings. We will also study how translations of the Qur’an were deployed as argumentative weapons for preaching the superiority of Christianity to Mudejars and Moriscos in Spain. Additionally, the question of nationalist motivations in the collecting and translating of the Qur’an will also be taken into consideration: beginning in the late 17th century, various European countries vied with one another to produce the best translation of the Qur’an made directly from the Arabic.  We will further investigate if and how polemical and historical uses of the Qur’an changed in the late 17th and 18th century and early 19th century. The Qur’an continues to play an important role in polemical writings, in political as well as religious domains.

The summer school is organized by ERC project “The European Qur’an” (https://euqu.eu).

More information under: https://euqu.eu/2021/09/22/summer-school-the-quran-in-inter-christian-polemic/

“Arts de l’Islam”

The exhibition “Arts de l’Islam” in France is now open!

Objects from the Louvre Museum, from the Department of Islamic Art are now being exhibited all over France until 27th March 2022.

To now more about this great initiative, please visit https://expo-arts-islam.fr/en

Speculum Themed Issue: “Race, Race-Thinking, and Identity in the Global Middle Ages” Call for Papers

François-Xavier Fauvelle, Collège de FranceNahir
Otaño Gracia, University of New MexicoCord
J. Whitaker, Wellesley College

IS-LE would like to call your attention for the following Open Call for Papers:

For far too long, scholarly consensus held that race and racism were mainly Enlightenment innovations, datable to no earlier than the seventeenth century. As long ago as the early twentieth century, some scholars pushed race’s origins to the sixteenth or even fifteenth centuries, but these scholars were few and far between. The Middle Ages and, with them, medieval studies were set off as a time and discipline innocent of race and racism. This remained generally true until the advent of critical medieval race studies in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Now, in 2021, special issues in major journals and no less than six full-length scholarly monographs have treated the imbrications of race with medieval art, literature, religion, and even the periodizing concept of the Middle Ages itself. Many more studies in medieval literature, history, art, religion, and culture have been conceptually informed by race, as have many studies in the modern perceptions and deployments of the Middle Ages. Speculum: A Journal of Medieval Studies calls for proposals for a themed issue, to be published as one of Speculum’s four quarterly issues, to recognize the intellectual value of the study of race to a comprehensive understanding of the Middle Ages.

We invite proposals for full-length essays (8,000-11,000 words) that interrogate race, race-thinking, and identity in the Middle Ages. For example, essays might consider the roles of race-making and racialization in the Islamic world; how race and identity, together with religion, was negotiated and navigated in border regions such as al-Andalus, Sicily or the Levant (between Latin Christendom and Islam), the Sahara and the Sahel region (between the Islamic world and Subsaharan Africa); how the dynamics of race-thinking informed relations between Latin and Greek Christendom and Islam or the Mongol Empire, or between the Muslim/Islamicate world and Christian, Jewish, Hinduist, and traditional-religious societies within it or beyond its reaches; how race intersected with the dynamics of trade and connectivity, religious affiliation and conversion, slavery and emancipation, peace and war. Essays may also take on the roles of race, race-thinking, and identity in the geography and periodization of the Middle Ages: Are historical moments that are quintessential to the history of race also relevant to medieval-and-modern periodizations? Essays may also consider how and why race, race-thinking, and identity have shaped modern concepts, uses, and scholarship of the Middle Ages.

The editors are open to essays that interrogate race, race-thinking, and identity in the Middle Ages by asking these and other deeply probing questions. Additionally, we are especially interested in essays that consider the globality of the medieval world: those that examine the networked interrelations and interdependences of Africa, Asia, the Americas, and Europe. In addition to scholarship in history and literature, we invite proposals using the tools and methods of anthropology, archaeology, art history, book history, historical linguistics, religious studies, sociology, and other fields germane to the studies of race, identity, and the Middle Ages.

The themed issue on race, race-thinking, and identity and the articles selected for it will be in keeping with Speculum’s purview as stated in the Guidelines for Submission: “preference is ordinarily given to articles of interest to readers in more than one discipline and beyond the specialty in question. Articles taking a more global approach to medieval studies are also welcomed, particularly when the topic engages with one or more of the core areas of study outlined above. Submissions with appeal to a broad cross-section of medievalists are highly encouraged.”

Proposals should be no more than 500 words in length and should be submitted by email to cord.whitaker@wellesley.edu with SPECULUM PROPOSAL in the subject line by 31 January 2022. The authors of selected proposals will be notified by 28 February 2022. Completed essays will be expected by 1 December 2022.

The Seventh Biennial Conference of the Society for the Medieval Mediterranean (SMM)

IS-LE calls you attention to an open call for the Seventh Biennial Conference of the Society for the Medieval Mediterranean (SMM) entitled “Interruptions and Disruptions in the Medieval Mediterranean, 400-1500”. The conference will take place in the University of Crete, Rethymnon, 11-15 July 2022. Deadline for Panel and Paper Proposals is the 30th November of 2021. For more information, please visit the website:


International Conference “Interruptions and disruptions in the medieval Mediterranean, 400-1500” Call for Papers

IS-LE would like to call your attention for the following call for papers for the panel entitled “Travelling in the Eastern Mediterranean, ca. 1300-1500: Politics, Agency and Production of Historical Knowledge and Space” being organised within the International Conference “Interruptions and disruptions in the medieval Mediterranean, 400-1500”. This Panel Session is being organised by Dr. Eleni Tounta (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki) and Dr. Nikolaos G. Chrissis (Democritus University of Thrace).

Those interested in participating should provide a title and a brief abstract (ca. 150 words) by 7 November 2021 to the session organizers: Dr. Eleni Tounta (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki) – tounta@hist.auth.gr and Dr. Nikolaos G. Chrissis (Democritus University of Thrace) – nchrysis@he.duth.gr

To read more about the scope of the panel session, please check the pdf document.

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