"Exceptional Iberia or Normative Mediterranean? Contexts of Ethno-religious Relations in the Middle Ages"

August 16, 2012
Thursday, October 18, 2012 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 1501 Neil Ave

Brian Catlos

Religious Studies, University of Colorado at Boulder

A Graduate Student Workshop will be offered at 12 noon in the Museum Room (143 University Hall)

Please rsvp to Carolina Lopez-Ruiz (lopez-ruiz.1@osu.edu)

Medieval "Spain" has long been portrayed as a unique case of ethno-religious diversity, and Muslim-Jewish-Christian relations, whether this is taken in a "positive" sense, as in Castro's paradigm of convivencia, or in the "negative" sense of Reconquest and Expulsion. Neither of these paradigms holds up to close examination, and each is based on a selective reading of sources; together they disguise a dynamic of ethno-religious interaction that is much more ambivalent and complex. Moreover, such relations are not particular to the Iberian peninsula of the Middle Ages, but rather characterize ethno-religious relations across the Medieval Mediterranean. "Exceptional Iberia or Normative Mediterranean?" seeks to place Muslim-Christian-Jewish relations as can be observed in the Iberian peninsula in a Mediterranean context and suggest an alternative to both the nostaligia of convivencia and the anachronistic vision of a clash of civilizations.

Mediterranean Spain image

Since 2010, Brian Catlos has worked as an Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder, with cross-appointments in History, Humanities and the Jewish Studies program. He studies the dynamics of the social, economic and cultural interaction of ethno-religious groups in the Medieval Mediterranean, especially Christians, Muslims, and Jews in Iberia. In 1994, he received a B.A. in History and Philosophy from the University of Toronto (Canada), and an M.A. (1996) and Ph.D. (2000) in Medieval Studies (History) from the Centre for Medieval Studies.

His first scholarly monograph, The Victors and the Vanquished: Christians and Muslims of Catalonia and Aragon, 1050--1300 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004) was awarded the John E. Fagg Prize (2005) and the Premio del Rey (2006), both from the American Historical Association, and was published in Spanish [Vencedores y vencidos: cristianos y musulmanes de Cataluña y Aragón, 1050--1300] by the University of Valencia Press in 2010. His article "The de Reys (1220–1501): The Evolution of a "Middle-Class" Muslim Family in Christian Aragon" [Viator 40 (2009)] was awarded the Bishko Prize in 2009 by the Association for Spanish and Portuguese Historical Studies, and his essay,“"Accursed, Superior Men”: Political Power and Ethno-religious Minorities in the Diverse Medieval Mediterranean” forthcoming in Muslims, Christians, and Jews in the Medieval Mediterranean won the 47th Annual Walter Prescott Webb Essay Competition (University of Texas). In 2009 Catlos edited a festschrift in honor of this dissertation supervisor, Worlds of History and Economics. Essays in Honour of Andrew M. Watson (Valencia: Universitat de Valencia). A major monograph, Muslims in Latin Christendom, ca. 1050-1615 is at press with Cambridge University Press, Infidel Kings and Unholy Warriors: The Mediterranean in the Age of the Crusades is to be published by Hill & Wang in 2013, and Paradoxes of Plurality: Ethnic and Religious Diversity in the Medieval Mediterranean and Beyond will be completed in late 2013. He also was Creative Consultant and appears in the PBS documentary Cities of Light.

Sponsored by the Iberian Studies Working Group and the Melton Center for Jewish Studies.

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