Bernadette Andrea, Heather Badamo, Luigi Andrea Berto, Heather Blurton, Travis Bruce, Albert Classen, Ambereen Dadabhoy, Adriano Duque, Claire Gilbert, Robin William Girard, Dawn Marie Hayes, Daniel Hershenzon, Deeana Klepper, Matthew B. Lynch, Susan McDonough, Louis X. Morera, Nicholas Parmley, Marta Albalá Pelegrín, Jennifer Pruitt, Dwight Reynolds, Peter F. Schadler, Sarah Davis-Secord, Timothy Smit, Abbey Stockstill, Anne Marie Wolf
Affiliation: Professor of English at the University of Texas at San Antonio
Languages: English, Spanish, Italian, French. Reading: Turkish, Arabic
Field(s): Renaissance/early modern studies, women's studies, literary and cultural theory
Selected Publications: Women and Islam in Early Modern English Literature (Cambridge University Press, 2007), English Women Staging Islam, 1696–1707 (University of Toronto, 2012), Early Modern England and Islamic Worlds (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011).
Extracurricular Interests: Ask me!
Institute Project & Plans: The project I intend to advance during this institute relates to a critical biography I am preparing on Lady Teresa Sampsonia Sherley (c. 1598–1668), a Circassian subject of Shah ‘Abbas I who married the shah’s envoy to Europe, the “famous English Persian” Robert Sherley. Her Christian name, Teresa, derives from the Spanish founder of the Discalced Carmelites, Teresa of Ávila and, as A Chronicle of the Carmelites in Persia records, she “wore on her breast a small relic of the flesh of S[anta] Teresa, given her in Madrid by the Carmelite Mother Beatrice, niece of the saint.” Her travels across Eurasia with her husband reverberated in numerous English-language accounts from the period, as well as in Italian, Latin, and Spanish documents. In addition, she and Robert appeared in a series of famous portraits painted in Rome and England, with both wearing garments that blended Persianate and Western European signifiers. Teresa Sampsonia herself emerged as an “author” in English, having prepared a petition to the English King James I. She later wrote a Latin epitaph for her husband, and perhaps her own.
I propose to use my time in Barcelona, which was a way station for the Sherley’s and other Persian travelers throughout the late medieval and early modern eras, to explore the Spanish aspects of her life in more detail. The emphasis of this institute on “questions of religious and ethnic pluralisms, cultural contact, hybridity, transculturation, and the negotiation of identities” offers an indispensable critical, historical, and theoretical foundation for my investigations of this fascinating woman, who deserves to have her full story told.
Affiliation: Harper-Schmidt Fellow, Department of Art History at the University of Chicago
Languages: Basic Arabic and Georgian
Field(s): Byzantine art, theories of cultural exchange, philosophies of religious violence, and strategies for communal self-fashioning as manifested in the visual arts.
Extracurricular Interests: Ask Me!
Institute Project & Plans: Displayed in triumphal processions, wielded as standards on the battlefield, and carried on the chests of soldiers – images accompanied the Byzantine military as symbols of sovereignty and banners of conquest on every campaign. Among the siege engines and weapons, there were processional crosses, relics, and icons. Chronicles place these sacred objects at the center of rituals and signifying performances: priests blessed crosses on the eve of battle, emperors brandished icons in the thick of war, and soldiers pledged their lives in the name of holy relics. In Byzantine tactica (treatises on military strategy), they are referred to as “weapons” and “strategic instruments,” suggesting that medieval technologies of war cannot be reduced to the military alone. My project, an article entitled “Icons at War,” examines how the Byzantine Empire and its rivals waged war both by and through works of art. It approaches the Byzantines’ “liturgical weapons” as both military tactics and targets by investigating patterns of abduction, assault, and looting across religious boundaries in the medieval eastern Mediterranean.
These activities placed efficacious objects at the center of strategies for reconfiguring political territories and, consequently, subjected them to competing systems of value. The circulation of objects in war could invert their initial meanings and functions to articulate communal boundaries; it could also give rise to novel forms of representation that blurred the distinctions between faiths. Focusing on the ninth through thirteenth centuries, this study mobilizes portable objects, chronicles, poetry, and romances from Byzantium, the Southern Caucasus, and the Frankish Levant. By focusing on cross-cultural interactions in the context of war, it highlights the role of the frontier in fostering interfaith encounter and exchange.
Luigi Andrea Berto (Andrea)
Affiliation: Associate Professor of History at Western Michigan University
Languages: Italian, English, French, Spanish, Latin
Field(s): Medieval Venice and early medieval Italy
Selected Publications: In Search of the First Venetians: Prosopography of Early Medieval Venice, Studies in the Early Middle Ages 41 (Turnout: Brepols, 2014), Erchemperto, Ystoriola Longobardorum Beneventum degentium / Piccola Storia dei Longobardi di Benevento, edition and translation into Italian, Nuovo Medioevo 94 (Naples: Liguori, 2013), ‘The Muslims as Others in the Chronicles of Early Medieval Southern Italy’, Viator. Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 45, 3 (2014), ‘The Image of the Byzantines in Early Medieval Southern Italy: The Viewpoint of the Chroniclers of the Lombards (9th-10th Centuries) and Normans (11th Century)’, Mediterranean Studies, 22, 1 (2014)
Extracurricular Interests: I am interested in food, movies, and walking in old cities.
Institute Project & Plans: I believe that both the areas on which most my scholarly production is based (Venice and the southern part of the Italian peninsula) and my research interests (perception of war and violence—including perception of the ‘other’—, ethnography, identities, writing history, and the use of the past—including the influence of modernity on the way scholars examine it) would allow me to give a substantial contribution to the 2015 NEH Summer Seminar in Barcelona
Stemming from my research and teaching interests, my project for the NEH seminar in Barcelona consists of the creation of a syllabus for a graduate seminar course titled “Representing the Other in Medieval Italy”. The preparation of such a course would also allow me to provide the intellectual frame for the writing of a book on a similar topic.
Affiliation: Associate Professor of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara
Languages: English, French, working on Spanish.
Field(s): High Middle Ages particularly in literary responses to the Norman Conquest and in the intersections of romance, hagiography, and historiography
Selected Publications: Cannibalism in High Medieval English Literature (Palgrave MacMillan, 2007)
Extracurricular Interests: Traveling, sight-seeing, reading, walking, and the beach
Affiliation: Assistant Professor in the Department of History at Wichita State University. Assistant Professor in the Department of History at McGill University (Fall 2015)
languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Reading proficiency in Arabic, Latin, Catalan.
Field(s): Medieval Mediterranean
Extracurricular Interests: I am especially looking forward to the food scene in Barcelona (so I will also be looking for some good running paths).
Institute Projects & Plans: My proposed research project, “Translating the Divide: Dragomans as Cultural Mediators in the Medieval Mediterranean,” explores how dragomans in the Western Mediterranean activated different, perhaps sometimes even conflicting, identities according to the specific circumstances and contexts of the exchange process.
Translators in the medieval Mediterranean did more than simply express speech from one language in the words of another; as Salicrú Lluch has noted, they helped people to act correctly and properly and prevent cultural misunderstandings. Some work has been done on the role of translators in high-level diplomatic activities, but I focus on commercial translators who played a more mundane role, but nevertheless acted as essential agents in maintaining the foundations of Mediterranean society. As actors who operated in the interstitial space of the medieval Mediterranean, dragomans used language, cultural knowledge, and their own reputations as their tools in facilitating the international language of commerce. As a simple extension of their linguistic and cultural functions, dragomans also naturally fell into the role of commercial middlemen, creating connections between buyers and sellers, regardless of creed.
These dragomans allow us to see the complex identities at play in the medieval Mediterranean. According to context and situational factors, these people activated specific overlapping identities, none of which excluded the other facets of themselves. In a binary approach, a dragoman was perhaps Muslim, and his Italian or Catalan client was likely Christian, but a more nuanced approach allows us to see that these were not the identities that defined them in this situation, despite whatever rhetoric may have been simultaneously spewing from certain authorities on either side of that divide. The dragoman’s religious culture likely contributed to his success as a cultural mediator, but business acumen was also required of him in his role as broker and associate in the service of foreign merchants. Beyond this, habitual relations over time created new identities, as they became associates and even friends of the men with whom they worked.
The themes outlined for the “Negotiating Identities” institute will considerably improve the use of theory in my project. For example, the institute theme of blurred lines of identity, running across material, legal, and literary cultures, applies directly to the role of dragomans and exchange in the articulation of Mediterranean identities. The exchange process that sits at the center of my project highlights the constant redrawing and blurring of lines between and around individuals and groups, and I look forward to building a firmer theoretical structure for my analysis through the successive units of the summer institute.
Affiliation: University Distinguished Professor Department of German Studies The University of Arizona
Languages: English, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Latin
Field(s): Medieval German literature
Extracurricular Interests: volley ball, biking, swimming, walking, touring medieval cities and other sites, cooking, and drinking good red wine in the company of good people.
Institute Projects & Plans: Paul M. Cobb confirmed recently in his new study The Race for Paradise (2014) that the entire history of the Crusades must be read not only through the lens of the Christian historiographers, but also through the lens of the Muslim writers of that time period. He covers the wide range of Christian-Muslim conflicts from al-Andalus to Syria, and offers fascinating insights not only into the military events, but also into the daily life in those areas. He is one of many recent historians who have discovered that the concept of Convivencia was not only a literary projection, but to some extent a lived reality. However, Cobb does not go much further in this aspect and limits himself mostly to the military conflicts.
My project pertains to the role of women, especially to women in late medieval Spain, both as individuals globally speaking and as poets. In particular, I want to focus on Leonor López de Córdoba (Calatayud, ca. 1362- Córdoba, 1420), who composed the first Spanish autobiography. Although very short in extent, it matters greatly for our purpose to investigate the larger topic of “Negotiating Identities” by way of looking at women’s writings. What do we know about Muslim women poets at that time in al-Andalus, for instance, and what other Christian women writers existed? How did the religious difference play out for women during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries? Also, I want to find out how Christians saw Muslim women and how Muslim writers commented on Christian women.
This will all fit very well into my current project which is a new book on European women writers from the Middle Ages. While I have focused so far mostly on women poets in England, France, Germany, and Hungary, I am missing Spain, so Leonor will allow me to fill a major gap.
Ambereen Dadabhoy (pronounced Umbar-een)
Affiliation: Visiting Assistant Professor of Literature at Harvey Mudd College.
Languages: English, Urdu, Gujarti, Turkish, Basic Spanish, Arabic (reading)
Field(s): Sixteenth and seventeenth century literature and cross-cultural contact and exchange in the early modern period. Ambereen is specifically interested with the representation of Muslim identity in the early modern English literature.
Selected Publications: Ambereen has published articles on Shakespeare's Othello, Lady Mary Wortley Montague's Turkish Embassy Letters, and race and national identity in the twenty-first century. Currently she is woking on her book MS, "The Ottoman Ceasars of Rome: Re-Oreinting Translatio Imperii."
Extracurricular Interests: Ask me!
Institute Projects & Plans: My work crosses disciplinary and geopolitical borders in its inquiry into the negotiation of identity at work within English and Ottoman imperial ideology. At once Muslim, central Asian, European, Mediterranean, and cosmopolitan, Ottoman imperial and cultural identity was performed, understood, and maintained through and against the European and Asian others it constructed. Similarly, English imperial identity was forged through almost identical negotiations with its European (especially Spanish) as well as near Eastern counterparts. I find it productive to consider the Ottoman Empire and its position in late medieval and early modern culture through a framework that focuses on interconnectivity, interaction, and collaboration. Indeed, the ambit of my project as encoded within its title, “The Ottoman Caesars of Rome: Re-Orienting Translatio Imperii,” quite deliberately does just that. To be sure, the Ottomans claimed their Roman inheritance through conquest, yet their imperial methodology and iconography reflects hybridity, the mingling of Roman, Byzantine, and central Asian identities. As I work on my project during the institute, I hope to expand my work by bringing into focus the connectivity between the western and eastern Mediterranean.
While my work primarily focuses on the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, it is theoretically, methodologically, and pedagogically fruitful to subtend my study with an inquiry that examines earlier histories of Mediterranean contact, encounter, and exchange. The history of the Ottomans in Europe begins with Fatih Sultan Mehmet’s conquest of Constantinople in 1453, and 1492 marks the full re-conquest of the Iberian Peninsula by the armies of Ferdinand and Isabella. These seminal events contour European identity, for there is simultaneously a claim to European identity being articulated by the Ottomans even as their co-religionists, the Moors, are being driven from their ancestral lands. The events that yoke these two moments are conquests, and they might seem to inaugurate a period of cultural triumph and superiority; however, they also disclose a space for negotiation, accommodation, and exchange. Through participation in the institute, I hope to investigate how the loss of Constantinople and the acquisition of Al-Andalus figured into cross-cultural and interreligious discourses across the Mediterranean. Indeed, I am curious as to the extent to which culture and religion were enmeshed within such discourses, for I suspect that the late medieval period might reflect a more fluid and capacious understanding of cultural differences than does our own.
Affiliation: Assistant Professor in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at Villanova University.
Languages: Spanish, English, French, and Reading knowledge of Latin, Greek, Arabic, Syriac
Field(s): Spanish Epics, Christian-Muslim Relation is Spanish Frontier Ballads, Medieval Gardens, Medieval Travelogues and the Classical Tradition.
Current Projects: The Spanish legend of John the Baptist and the traditions around Salomé's alleged birth in Spain.
Extracurricular Interests: Ask me!
Institute Projects & Plans: "Shared Saint Veneration among Muslims and Christians in 10th Century Spain." The 10th century is emblematic of Spain’s negotiation of its relation between Islamic rulers and the Spanish Christian tradition. The migration of Arab Christians from Syria following the Abbasid prosecution caused a vast migration of Syrian Christians under the tutelage of the Umayyad Caliph in Córdoba. As Umayyad rulers restricted access to Islamic society, Christians retreated to their churches where they were allowed to maintain their religious beliefs. Until recently, scholarship approached Muslim-Christian relations primarily as a confrontation between Spanish Christians and their Islamic invaders. More recent scholarship has focused on the reassessment of popular religious practices originating in Syria as indicators of religious beliefs in Medieval Spain.
The importance of shared saint veneration has never been systematically explored in a book-long work. My project proposes to bring together scholarship on Christian-Muslim relations in early Medieval Spain and to examine the social response of Christian and Muslim religious elites to the problem posed by the rituals of shared veneration between Muslims and Christians. By examining the legends of Spanish Saints like Saint John the Baptist or Jesus the Green and the incentives for shared veneration by religious authorities, the study hopes to reveal a complex array of social obligations that connected individuals across religions in Spain as early as the 10th century.
By studying shared saint veneration in Medieval Spain, I expect to provide the framework for further studies on social relations in the Middle Ages around the Mediterranean, based not on religious antagonism, but on social interaction. I am confident that my work will provide a better understanding of culture of Al-Andalus and help explain societal relations in Medieval Spain. I am planning to prepare a book on shared saint veneration in Al-Andalus.
Affiliation: Assistant Professor of History at Saint Louis University (Missouri)
Languages: English, Spanish French. Reading: Arabic, Latin, German
Field(s): Late Medieval and Early Modern Spain and the Western Mediterranean.
Selected Publications: "Transmission, Translation, Legitimacy and Control: The Activities of a Multilingual Scribe in Morisco Granada," in Multilingual and Multigraphic Manuscripts and Documents of East and West, Giuseppe Mandala and Inmaculada Pérez Marin (eds.), (Piscatawy, NJ: Gorgias Press, 2014).
Extracurricular Interests: Ask me!
Institute Project & Plans: I am eager to undertake three projects in Barcelona while participating in the NEH Summer Institute, “Negotiating Identities: Expression and Representation in the Christian-Jewish-Muslim Mediterranean”: 1) research for at least one book chapter, 2) a graduate course syllabus to be taught during Fall 2015, and 3) the development of an undergraduate course to be taught in Spring 2016 in my position as Assistant Professor in the Department of History at Saint Louis University.
Robin William Girard
Affiliation: Doctoral candidate at Washington University in St. Louis.
Languages: English, French, Arabic. Reading: Old French, Latin, German
Field(s): Medieval French literature
Extracurricular Interests: Outside of academics, I am an avid traveler, an accomplished tanguero and a twin. I’ve been dancing Argentine tango for almost 10 years now in the US and abroad. I have also taught - including to people with Parkinson’s. Definitely an interest bordering on a passion for me. Other interests include rock climbing, surfing and freshwater fishkeeping, although my goal is to one day raise cuttlefish.
Institute Project & Plans: One of the many objections made to positing vectors of influence between medieval Arabic and Old French literature is the lack of documentary evidence supporting the circulation of texts, whether trans-Pyrenean or trans-Mediterranean. The histories of science and medicine, however, provide a far more substantial source of documentary evidence of intellectual and material exchange between the polities within the Hexagon and the Islamicate world. Scholars of Old French literature have not yet fully mobilized this history of science to inform the history of literature to reveal the influence of the twelfth-century Renaissance on the expression of the medieval Weltanschauung in the Old French romance tradition. By exploring the influence of medical discourse on the depiction of love in vernacular romances, I propose to show that influence between various literatures does not occur solely through the copying and translation of stories but also through paradigm shifts in other domains. The introduction of Arabic medicine to the eleventh-century scholastic centers of Europe through Constantine the African’s Viaticum Peregrinantis constituted just such a paradigm shift that, I will argue, had critical ramifications for the development of theories of fin’amor in the following centuries. This project thus finds itself at the crossroads of cultural and literary history and the histories of medicine and emotion within the medieval Mediterranean and raises important questions about cultural porosity and appropriation.
Dawn Marie Hayes (Dawn Marie or Dawn)
Affiliation: Associate Professor of European History at Montclair State University
Languages: Italian, Spanish, French
Field(s): The Medieval Mediterranean by way of Anglo-Saxon England, French and English History from the eleventh through the thirteenth century, Norman Sicily
Current Projects: Southern Italy – Sicily in particular – during the eleventh and twelfth centuries; the Norman conquest of the island and the early kingdom under Roger II.
Selected Publications: "French Connections: The Significance of the Fleurs-de-Lis in the Mosaic of King Roger II of Sicily in the Church of Santa Maria dell’Ammiraglio, Palermo," published in Viator in 2013 (vol. 44, pages 119-49). "The Political Significance of Roger II's Antiquated Loros in the Mosaic in Santa Maria dell'Ammiraglio, Palermo," in the first volume of collected essays compiled by the Symposium on Medieval and Renaissance Studies at St. Louis University (Allegorica, vol. 29, 2013, pages 52-69). "The Cult of St. Nicholas in Norman Bari, c. 1071-1111" in the Journal of Ecclesiastical History [forthcoming]. I am also completing an article on the importance of the Mediterranean to Roger's kingship; its working title is "Devotion Magnified by the Perils of the Sea: Roger II of Sicily, St. Nicholas of Bari and the Challenges of a Maritime Kingdom."
Extracurricular Interests: When I do have free time, I watch Britcoms (Blackadder, Vicar of Dibley, ‘Allo ‘Allo . . .) as well as silly American shows like 30 Rock, Arrested Development and Parks and Recreation. I also enjoy foreign films (love Fellini), with Tornatore’s Nuovo Cinema Paradiso being my absolute favorite. I’m a fan of the beautiful game. Sunday afternoons in my house are spent cooking macaroni and sauce while catching up on the English and Italian - and yes, sometimes Spanish - league games.
Institute Projects & Plans: An exploration of the reputation and legacy of Alfonso VI of León-Castile in the eleventh and early twelfth centuries and the role they may have played in establishing a marriage alliance between his daughter, Elvira, and Sicily’s first king. This research will ultimately be included in a book project whose tentative title is Uncertainty and Aspiration in a New Land: Politics, Piety and Art in Norman Sicily and Southern Italy, c. 1071 – 1154.
Affiliation: Associate Professor in the Department of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages at the University of Connecticut
Languages: Hebrew, English, Spanish
Current Projects: Daniel Hershenzon is currently completing a book manuscript titled “Early Modern Spain and the Mediterranean: Captivity, Commerce, and Communication.” The book explores the 17th century entangled histories of Spain, Morocco and Ottoman Algiers, arguing that ransom mechanisms associated with the captivity of Christians and Muslims conditioned the formation of the Mediterranean as a socially, politically, and economically integrated region.
Selected Publications: Hershenzon has published articles in the Journal of Early Modern History, African Economic History, Philological Encounters, and in edited volumes.
Extracurricular Interests: Ask me!
Institute Projects & Plans: Captivity, Commerce and Communication: Early Modern Spain and the Mediterranean explores the entangled histories of Spain’s 17th-century Mediterranean territories, Morocco and Ottoman Algiers. It argues that ransom mechanisms associated with the captivity of Christians and Muslims conditioned the formation of the Mediterranean as a socially, politically, and economically integrated region. The book insists that despite confessional differences, the lives of Muslim and Christian captives were interrelated and interdependent. These captivities were connected by a political economy of ransom shaped by ecclesiastic ransom institutions, Spanish, Ottoman and Moroccan rulers, and Jewish, Muslim, and Christian ransom intermediaries. These actors struggled over ransom procedures, the construction of captives’ value and patterns of maritime mobility. They all interacted through an array of texts that captives created and circulated across the sea. Constant circulation of texts and people meant that the captivities of Pacheco, Fatima, the Trinitarians, Mahamete of Alexandria, and others – so far studied in isolation – were interdependent forming part of a connected Mediterranean history. These stories of piracy’s victims intersected either in negotiations over ransom or because some were taken captive as revenge for others’ capture. The reconstruction of these lives, then, demonstrates the necessity and potential of studying captivity from a cross-Mediterranean perspective.
Structure and Timeline: Chapter 1 argues that dynamism rather than stasis characterized the lives of enslaved Muslim and Christian captives. I demonstrate that claim by analyzing slaves’ occupational trajectories, understood as the movement between masters and occupations through various forms of temporary and permanent exchange. I show that these displacements entailed spatial mobility in cities and across the sea. The next 3 chapters argue that the massive engagement of literate and illiterate captives with writing made captives instrumental in the production and circulation of information. Chapter 2 follows writings that affected families and communities, chapter 3 examines political information, and chapter 4 examines complaints of Muslim slaves about religious violence. Traveling news and writing actions operated locally as a survival strategy allowing captives to negotiate and improve their living conditions, and on a Mediterranean scale extending the reach of the family, and political and religious bureaucracies beyond territorial boundaries, thereby linking Spain, Morocco, and Algiers. Chapter 5 examines the competition among ransom go-betweens and ecclesiastical ransom institutions over the ransom economy. Chapter 6 takes a closer look at the tightly connected lives of the Christian and Muslim captives who opened this proposal, placing them within a Mediterranean political economy of ransom. The chapter argues that negotiations among captivity-related actors and Spanish outsourcing of ransom operations to Maghribi Jews and Muslims shaped captives’ value and maritime mobility structures, and affected processes of state formation.
Of the six chapters, I have revised chapters 1,2 and 4. The NEH Negotiating Identity Summer Institute and access to the Archivo de la Corona de Aragón will allow me to complete chapter 3.
Affiliation: Associate Professor of Religion and History at Boston University
Languages: English, German, Italian. Reading knowledge of Spanish, Latin, Hebrew.
Field(s): Medieval and Early Modern European religious history
Selected Publications: The Insight of Unbelievers: Nicholas of Lyra and Christian Reading of Jewish Texts in the Later Middle Ages in the Later Middle Ages (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007), “The Encounter Between Christian Authority and Jewish Authority over Scriptural Truth: The Barcelona Disputation of 1263,” in Autorität und Wahrheit, edited by Gian Luca Potestà and “The Jew As Hagar in Medieval Christian Text and Image” set to appear in the June 2015 issue of Church History: Studies in Christianity and Culture.
Extracurricular Interests: I love hiking, biking, city exploring, cooking, wandering through food markets and being near water. All manner of art up to about the mid-twentieth century, at which point I seem to lose appreciation (am I allowed to admit that? I’m certainly willing to be converted). Reading novels. And drinking wine. Definitely looking forward to drinking wine.
Institute Project & Plans: During the NEH Summer Institute in Barcelona, I will be working on a project that compares the approach toward Jewish biblical interpretation in the work of the Catalonian Franciscan Ponce Carbonell (d. 1349) and the Jewish convert to Christianity, Rabbi Solomon Halevi/Archbishop Paul of Burgos (d. 1435). I am looking forward to the Institute as a way to broaden my “traditional” training as a Europeanist and to think about how I might integrate a Mediterranean perspective into my Europe-focused teaching and research.
Matthew B. Lynch
Affiliation: Ph.D Student at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Languages: Persian, Arabic, Spanish.
Field(s): Religious Studies, Islam, Sufism, Persian literature.
Extracurricular Interests: I have traveled a bit throughout the Middle East but relatively little in Europe, so I am excited for Barcelona. I am especially interested in exploring the art and music scenes in addition to the historical aspects of the area. I love spicy food, craft beer, dynamic conversations, and travel. My Spanish is rusty but functional, and I also can speak some Persian and Arabic. I will throw a Frisbee anytime, and enjoy biking at a casual pace.
Institute Project & Plans: Currently, I am working on a dissertation related to Jalaluddin Rumi's Masnavi and the early Mevlevi community around issues of scripturalization, canonization, and religious community formation in medieval Anatolia. My scholarly interests include literary theory, aesthetics, contemporary art and design, and religion in the media.
Affiliation: Associate Professor of history at University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Languages: English and French
Field(s): Medieval History, gender and legal culture in late medieval Marseille
Selected Publications: Neighbors, and Community in Late Medieval Marseille (Palgrave, 2013)
Extracurricular Interests: I am a news junkie, consumer of all things pop culture, and a lover of good food and good wine. I’ve recently gotten back into jogging and hope it continues in Barcelona.
Institute Project & Plans: I envision my next book project – tentatively entitled “Vile Sluts and Gassy Whores” –as an explicitly Mediterranean one, framed around a shared body of water in addition to shared values of a community shaped around a city. In researching my first book, Witnesses, Neighbors, and Community in Late Medieval Marseille, I took note of the disproportionate number of prostitutes, feminae falhitae, who used the courts to levy criminal charges against each other: slander, violent attack, and theft, for the most part. This unusual trend, while tangential to that first book, has become the center of my new project. Why did the prostitutes choose to bring their disputes with each other to the law courts, which were central, public, official, and even close to religious houses -- all the spaces from which prostitutes were supposed to be banned? Certainly Marseille’s port-city status, which made it a space where people from of different regional, professional, and ethnic identities came together, is part of the answer to this question. The port drew people from many locations and religions, customs and languages, creating liminal spaces that might have served as opportunity for some of that city’s residents.
I will start my four-week research project by comparing the municipal statutes of Barcelona with Marseille’s. What limitations, if any, does the law place on the movement of prostitutes? The record books of the Consell de Cent, housed in the Arxiu Històric de la Ciutat de Barcelona will provide the initial sources for comparison. I can then see if those limitations are challenged by prostitutes themselves. Are prostitutes in the late medieval processos en foli and processos en quart in the Archivo de la Corona de Aragón making their disputes public by bringing charges against each other? Marie Kelleher has argued that women were active in bringing cases against prostitutes in the Crown of Aragon to expel them from honest streets, but what about the prostitutes themselves? How did they use the mechanism of the courts to carve out literal and metaphorical space for themselves? By the end of the month’s seminar, my goal will be to have a body of comparative data on prostitutes in Barcelona and Marseille. I will endeavor to rework the narrow conclusions about prostitutes and their use of the courts in one context to a broader speculation about the fluid relationship across and between prostitutes, space, and port cities in the medieval Mediterranean.
Luis X. Morera (Luis)
Affiliation: Lecturer in History in the Department of History Baylor University
Languages: Spanish, English, French, German, and Reading Knowledge of Portuguese, Catalan, and Latin
Field(s): World History, Mediterranean History, (Comparative) Iberian History, Civic and Royal Festivals, Medieval and Early Modern Europe
Current Projects: Currently revising Cities and Sovereigns: Ceremonial Receptions of Iberia as Viewed from Below, 1350-1550 for publication.
Selected Publications: "An Inherent Rivalry between Letrados and Caballeros? Alonso de Cartagena, the Knightly Estate, and an Historical Problem", Mediterranean Studies, 16 (2007): pp. 67-93. Currently revising Cities and Sovereigns: Ceremonial Receptions of Iberia as Viewed from Below, 1350-1550 [forthcoming].
Extracurricular Interests: Louis love's kitsch and camp, great bad movies, hip-hop (with a good beat, wit, and interesting poetics), martial arts, food (I usually order the weirdest thing on the menu on principle), cats, travel to off-the-beaten-path places, quality kitchen ware (I act as my wife’s sous chef), office supplies, travel writing and travel shows, and comedy.
Institute Projects & Plans: For my NEH project, I would like to develop an article for publication that explores “Medieval Minstrelsy: Muslim and Jewish Performances of Otherness and the Construction of Race in Late Medieval Iberia.” Very little scholarship has been written on these rather ambiguous performances, and what has been written has not only lacked theoretical frameworks—such as minstrelsy—but also has been generally looked at them from the dominant Christian perspective. I would like to use the NEH Institute as an opportunity to develop this project within a broader framework, looking at the changing power dynamics between Mediterranean peoples. To complete the project within this broader scope, access to the local archives would be instrumental, as I have archival documents for these performances for the cases of Portugal and Castile, but no such documentation for the case of the Crown of Aragon. The Arxiu Històric Municipal de la Ciutat de Barcelona and the Arxiu de la Corona d’Aragó are the two most likely places for finding such documents, so the Summer Institute would provide an amazing opportunity for archival exploration—especially useful given the optional guided orientation for using the latter archive. In addition to making full use of the Barcelona’s rich archival collections, I would moreover seek to meet faculty and identify resources available at the Institució Milà i Fontanals.
 My choice of the phrase “songs and dances” here is very purposeful, since my argument is precisely that Christian rulers are racializing Muslims and Jews through stereotyped performances. I have documents from Portugal ordering “E mais os Judeos e Mouros andem por a çidade com alegrias e cantares” [Arquivo Municipal de Lisboa, Livro de Festas (copia), doc. 1(f. 2r). Santarem, 29 April 1486.], and for Castile, specifying that “los moros e los judíos saquen el dicho día, los moros sus juegos e danças, e los judíos su dança” [Libros de Acuerdos de Madrid, vol. I (1464-1485), 103-104. Madrid, 22 June 1481.]. I would like to search for similar documents for the Crown of Aragon, to argue for a late medieval shift in Western Mediterranean identities and constructions of otherness.
Nicholas Parmley (Nico)
Affiliation: Assistant Professor of Spanish at Whitman College
Languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Hebrew, Latin.
Field(s): Hispanic Poetry; Medieval and Early Modern Iberian literatures and cultures; Mediterranean Studies; Andalusi Arabic and Hebrew poetry and rhymed prose; Medieval Islamic philosophy
Selected Publications: "Tales of Travel: The Sea and Seafaring in Medieval Iberian Jewish Literature." Eras Journal 13.2 (2012), "Medieval Mediterranean Travel as an Intellectual Journey: Seafaring and the Pursuit of Knowledge in the Libro de Apolonio.” Hispanic Issues (Forthcoming), "Mixtures and Monsters: the ribera confusa of Góngora’s Soledades." Comitatus (Submitted for review)
Extracurricular Interests: I enjoy swimming and road biking. And though I don’t particularly enjoy running, it is a necessary component of my triathlon training. I’m looking forward to working hard, meeting and collaborating with excellent scholars…and enjoying a lot of good wine and jamón serrano.
Institute Project & Plans: My goals while at the NEH Summer Institute in Barcelona are to theoretically and methodologically ground my work on medieval Iberia in the broader context of the Mediterranean. I am particularly interested in learning how scholars in related fields (history, religion, gender studies, race and ethnics studies, etc.) are working with the Mediterranean. Specifically, I am interested in archival information concerning Catalan merchant ships in the Strait of Gibraltar around the time Alfonso X built El Puerto de Santa María (1264-1284). I currently have a chapter on this in my book project on Medieval Iberian Tales of the Sea, but it has both archival and methodological holes I would like to improve upon. As such, I am looking to challenge my own ideas and presuppositions about Iberia and the Mediterranean and am looking forward to having my ideas challenged and honed by leading scholars in the field.
Marta Albalá Pelegrín (Marta)
Affiliation: Assistant Professor at the English and Foreign Languages Department at Cal Poly Pomona
Languages: Spanish, English, French, and Italian. Reading knowledge of Latin, German and beginner Hebrew
Field(s): Late Medieval and Early Modern Spanish literature, Theater and Diplomacy in the context of the Mediterranean World, and French, Italian and Spanish humanistic and theatrical cultural networks as well as in English drama
Current Project: She is currently working on a book project on international diplomacy and theater at the papal court, Entertaining the Pope: International Diplomacy and Performance in Early Modern Rome (1470- 1530).
Extracurricular Interests: A voracious traveler since then, she has developed the appetite for living in different countries, learn different languages and devouring local cuisine, all spiced up with good wine and beer. She enjoys welcoming the summer with a German course book over an obazda in a Beer Garden. When not reading at a coffee place or at the archives, she watches movies, hunts for old movie theaters, and new culinary traditions. She used to be a figure skater, and now she loves strolling in big cities, and having a drink or some tapas with friends.
Institute Project & Plans: During the seminar I will build a conceptual and methodological framework that better nuances my book project Entertaining the Pope: International Diplomacy and Performance in Early Modern Rome (1470- 1530) and my current projected articles: 1) on the contribution to Renaissance letters of Spanish prelates of converso origin, "Exiled within the Curia: Spanish Prelates of Converso Origins in Rome. Pedro de Aranda and Baltasar del Río", and 2) on diplomacy and theater, "When in Rome... Foreign Diplomacy and Theater in Early Sixteenth Century: Machiavelli, Torres Naharro, and Hernán Lopez de Yanguas". Specifically I will create a commented bibliography that will touch upon the following seminar themes: how to study, conceptualize and analyze intergroup dynamics; and the role of minority and majority relationships. This will allow me to effectively study the interplay of ethnic, religious, and linguistic difference in the daily life and cultural production of diplomats, prelates, foreigners and conversos at the papal court. This will benefit the first and second chapter of my book project “The place of Spain in the Roman Curia: Cardinals, Prelates, Diplomats and Patrons of the Arts” and “Roma aperta: neighborhoods and communities”, that delve, respectively into the role of Iberian cardinals and prelates such as Bernardino de Carvajal, Baltasar del Río (of converso origin) and Jaume Serra as literary patrons; and the role of multiethnic and multi-confessional communities in shaping Early modern diplomacy and theater, taking Rome as a paramount example.
In addition to the commented bibliography I will advance my archival research on figures such as Bernardino de Carvajal and Jaume Serra in the local archives of the Crown of Aragon. This will allow me to work towards the completion of the archival research needed for the publication of my following projected articles as well as to expand the archival research of the first chapter of my book project. As a product of this research, I will create an essay based on secondary and historiographical sources, and nuanced with the theory acquired during the seminar. This essay will however differ from my first book chapter in the emphasis it will concede to the study uniquely of those Spanish diplomats at the papal court that held strong ties with the crown of Aragon by the end of the 15th and the beginning of the 16th century, and who played an important role as both theatrical and literary patrons.
Affiliation: Assistant Professor of Islamic Art at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Languages: English, Arabic (classical and Egyptian), French
Field(s): Cross-cultural exchange in the medieval Mediterranean; sectarian identity in medieval Islamic art; artistic responses to the Arab Spring in Egypt; and contemporary architecture in the Arabian Gulf
Current Projects: I am currently completing my first book manuscript, Sectarian Identity in the Architecture of the Caliphs, based on research I began in my dissertation. In the book project, I consider the architecture of the Fatimid dynasty, which founded Cairo and dominated the early medieval Mediterranean world. Generally considered a golden age of multicultural tolerance, the Fatimid era was characterized by an efflorescence of art and architecture. My research complicates this narrative by centering its discussion around the single exception given to this tale of an interfaith utopia, the patronage of the “mad” caliph, al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah (r. 996-1021 CE). Al-Hakim is most (in)famous for his destruction of Egyptian churches and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, an act that would some decades later act as a rallying cry for the Latin Crusaders. However, al-Hakim also sponsored significant architectural projects that would forever alter the face of Cairo and its place in the medieval world. \
My book project analyzes the role of interfaith and sectarian identity in the patronage of the Fatimid rulers, comparing al-Hakim’s controversial projects to those of his predecessors, his successors, and those in competing Islamic realms. My research method is interdisciplinary and cross-cultural, integrating social and political history, urban, religious, and philosophical studies from Sunni, Shi’i, Christian, and Jewish sources. Although Fatimid visual culture is often treated as a purely Egyptian phenomenon, my project situates it within shifting relations between Abbasid Baghdad, the Spanish Umayyads, and Byzantium.
Selected Publications: “Method in Madness: Reconsidering Church Destructions in the Fatimid Era,” Muqarnas (2013) and “The Miracle of Muqattam: Moving a Mountain to Build a Church in the Early Fatimid Caliphate (969-995),” in Sacred Precincts: Non-Muslim Sites in Islamic Territories (Brill, 2014).
Extracurricular Interests: Ask me!
Institute Project & Plans: The seminar’s theme on “Negotiating Identities” is ideally suited for my research and teaching interests.The intersection between Muslim, Christian, and Jewish communities in the medieval Mediterranean is a unifying theme in my work. This year, I plan to develop and write a new chapter for my book manuscript, situating Fatimid architecture within a comparative Mediterranean context. As part of the NEH seminar, I would like to develop a bibliography and begin considering Fatimid architectural forms, inscriptions, ornament, and, particularly, the treatment of dhimmī architectural spaces, in light of patterns seen in Spain, North Africa, and Sicily. The comparative framework of the NEH seminar, with a focus on intersections between Christianity, Judaism, and Islam and close collaboration with other scholars interested in this intersection, would be an invaluable context in which to develop this chapter.
Dwight Reynolds (Dwight)
Affiliation: Professor of Religious Studies at the University of California in Santa Barbara
Languages: Arabic, French, German, Spanish, Swedish
Field(s): Folklore and Folklife
Current Projects: My current book project, titled The Musical Heritage of al-Andalus, traces the complex interactions among various musical traditions in medieval Iberia. As part of this research I have gathered historical documentation concerning the traffic and trade of musicians and minstrels back and forth across the Mediterranean in various directions, including between al-Andalus and the eastern Mediterranean and also between North Africa and Iberia. Among the most interesting aspects of this material is the constant interaction among Christians, Jews, and Muslims in the creation and propagation of what we now refer to as “Andalusi music,” a cluster of closely related musical traditions that are still performed in many urban centers of North Africa, the eastern Mediterranean, and in Yemen. To give but three extremely brief examples, I have discovered a collection of biographies of musicians in al-Andalus that includes an account of a 9th-century Muslim musician in Cordoba who is said to have learned music from a visiting delegation of Christians from the North and to have combined that with repertory he learned from a newly arrived female slave-singer from Baghdad; another biography is that of a 10th-century singer from North Africa who traveled first to Cordoba, but later lived and among the Christians of northern Iberia and eventually returned to Cordoba with the repertory he had learned there; yet another biography tells of a young Christian who converted to Islam, became a star singer in Cordoba, but then traveled to the East where he achieved great success as a performer.
Selected Publications: Arab Folklore: A Handbook, Westport, CN: Greenwood Press, 2007. Interpreting the Self: Autobiography in the Arabic Literary Tradition. Dwight F. Reynolds, editor and co-author. Berkeley/Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2001. Heroic Poets, Poetic Heroes: The Ethnography of Performance in an Arabic Oral Epic Tradition. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1995.
Extracurricular Interests: Food & cooking, wine (I live in Santa Barbara, CA, and there are over 100 vineyards in our county, with nearly that many just up the road in the Paso Robles area), hiking, bicycling, exploring cities/neighborhoods/buildings that are connected with the Muslim and/or Jewish past, and, of course, music of many different varieties.
Institute Projects & Plans: I have gathered together a large number of texts of various types ranging from biographies to descriptions of performances and financial records, that together present a remarkable portrait of cultural interaction among Jewish, Christian, and Muslim musicians and patrons, including contacts with minstrels visiting Iberia from other regions of Europe, a discovery that opens up new vistas in terms of tracing the flows of musical and poetic culture between Iberia and the rest of Europe. Participation in the “Negotiating Identities” summer institute will allow me, I hope, to place the material I have already gathered into a broader Mediterranean context and also give me an opportunity to engage in discussions about the representation and performance of sectarian and other identities. I would greatly benefit from a better understanding of how other scholars are thinking about these issues in other cultural domains. My project during the summer institute would be to produce either a chapter for the above-mentioned book project or a separate article or essay specifically dealing with the issues of identity and the world of medieval musical performance.
Peter F. Schadler
Affiliation: Visiting Assistant Professor of History at the College of Charleston
Languages: French, German, English, Greek
Extracurricular Interests: In the past I played a lot of chess, but now I keep busy with three small children. I like museums, good food, and love good conversation.
Affiliation: Assistant Professor of History at the University of New Mexico
Languages: English, Spanish, Italian. Reading: Classical Arabic, Latin, Ancient Greek, French, Italian, Spanish.
Field(s):Middle Ages, History of the Medieval Mediterranean, Christian-Muslim-Jewish Relations, Medieval Europe and the Islamic World
Selected Publications: “The Crusades,” in Encyclopedia of Race and Racism, 2nd ed. 4 vols. Edited by Patrick L. Mason (Detroit, MI: Macmillan Reference USA, 2013), “Sicily and Southern Italy,” in Encyclopedia of Medieval Pilgrimage (Leiden: Brill, 2009), “Medieval Sicily and Southern Italy in Recent Historiographical Perspective,” History Compass, vol. 8, no. 1 (2009), “Muslims in Norman Sicily: The Evidence of Imām al-Māzarī’s Fatwās,” Mediterranean Studies, vol. 16 (2007).
Extracurricular Interests: I love exploring new places—especially places in the sunny Mediterranean! I love to travel and I’m interested in exploring the possibility of a weekend trip to Portugal, or taking weekend day-trips to nearby towns within Catalonia. I’ll have my guidebook by my side at all times, and I’m always open to seeking out the remains of medieval sites and neighborhoods in Barcelona (and beyond). You’ll also find me making visits to museums and bookstores (I like to read novels written by local authors, and I’m open to suggestions) and searching for vegetarian food and comfortable cafes: I drink a lot of coffee and beer but I’m also fond of a good red wine, which is what I assume I’ll drink most of this summer. I have a five-year-old daughter who is not coming with me this summer, so I’ll be free to hang out and explore. I also run—though very, very slowly—so if anyone is looking for a (slow) running partner, that could be a fun way to explore the city.
Timothy Smit (Tim)
Affiliation: Assistant Professor of History at Eastern Kentucky University
Languages: German, Italian, and a little Arabic
Field(s): Social and economic history of the medieval Mediterranean
Selected Publications: "Pagans and Infidels, Saracens and Sicilians: Identifying Muslims in the Eleventh-Century Chronicles of Norman Italy," Haskins Society Journal: Studies in Medieval History 21 (2009): 67-86. "This Island of Many Natural Riches and Many Peoples: Geography, Population, and the Economic Identities of Norman Sicily," in Mediterranean Identities, edited by Kathryn Reyerson and John Watkins (Aldershot: Ashgate Press, 2013) [forthcoming].
Extracurricular Interests: Museums and hiking (both in cities and the countryside). I also enjoy rugby, but I foresee fewer opportunities to engage in that while in Barcelona.
Institute Projects & Plans: Drawing upon the theme of this NEH institute, I will spend the four weeks in Barcelona researching the transition from Norman to Staufen rule in Sicily at the end of the twelfth century and its effects on the economic and social practices of the Muslim populations of the island. I will pay particular attention to the connections between Sicily and North Africa and how the transition in rule shaped and changed the mechanisms of cultural and economic exchange and transmission between the two regions. Sicily and North Africa were closely connected in the Central Middle Ages and movement was continuous across the short span of the Mediterranean that separated them. I am interested in how these practices and patterns of exchange could continue even in periods of political strife and transition. Given the paucity of sources in the period that were produced in Sicily, I will focus on Genoese documents in order to examine this topic. Because Genoese merchants had close ties to commerce in Sicily and transportation to and from it, I believe this will be a fruitful avenue of research. There are a variety of materials available for this project, including those in collections in Barcelona. I will examine Genoese annals covering this period available at the Biblioteca Nacional de Catalunya and a collection of Genoese diplomatic materials in the library of the University of Barcelona. The chronicle of Peter of Eboli, describing the Staufen conquest of Sicily, is available in the library of the Autonomous University of Barcelona. I anticipate the possibility of extending the range of my research to address a second period of transition, the expulsion of Sicilian Muslims to Lucera in the middle of the thirteenth century. If I were to continue my research along those lines, there is a collection of diplomatic materials from the Muslim community at Lucera available at the Biblioteca Nacional de Catalunya.
Affiliation: Ph.D student at Harvard University
Languages: English, Arabic, Spanish, French
Field(s): Islamic art and architecture, with a particular focus on the late medieval western Mediterranean
Extracurricular Interests: Ask me!
Institute Project & Plans: I propose studying a small collection of 11th- and 12th-century objects from the Museu Nacional d’art de Catalunya and the Museu Episcopal de Vic that feature similar motifs but differ in their context of origin or intended audience. While employing commonly recognized imagery, each of these objects is drawing on references that indicate specific identities – that of the producer, the consumer, or both. Each of the objects that I intend to incorporate into this examination features a bird figure in the same profile posture with a large body and a small head, wings tucked into the body. Alternately described as a dove or a peacock (largely based on the color scheme employed), the figure appears in Almoravid and Almohad textiles, a stone capital from taifa Toledo, and a pair of Catalonian ecclesiastical copper vessels. It is clear that such a widespread and multi-purpose motif can be ascribed with more than one semantic meaning, but when the objects in question move and transition – whether as spolia or through trade – the ability of the motif to shift becomes a valuable tool in the expression of self.
Anne Marie Wolf (Anne Marie)
Affiliation: Associate Professor at the University of Maine at Farmington
Languages: Spanish (Castilian)
Field(s): Christian-Muslim dialogue & interactions, Social and cultural history of late medieval and early modern health practices, International & Global Studies: Medieval and early modern Europe; Middle East; Colonial Latin America
Current Projects: With the publication of my book in 2014 (Juan de Segovia and the Fight for Peace: Christians and Muslims in the Fifteenth Century), I have turned to new research interests in health and popular remedies from the fourteenth to the sixteenth centuries. I have become especially interested in the boticarios (apothecaries) as a trade or professional group. My interest is not in textual analysis of medical treatises or uncovering exactly how much influence a thinker had on another’s work, but rather along the lines of a social history of the boticarios themselves. This group became more tightly regulated and professionalized in the Later Middle Ages. They were not physicians, yet they were closely involved in people’s everyday quest for relief from various maladies. In rural areas, they were often the only access to an official health practitioner. The overlap between the boticarios’ function and that of the spice merchants is especially intriguing, and I am also curious about how the travel and trade, both in the Mediterranean and later across the Atlantic, affected both pharmaceutical knowledge and the available products in different markets. For example, did the practice of apothecaries differ between the Crown of Aragon and the heart of Castile, or was the trade from the coast into the central plateau extensive enough to ensure wide availability of products between these two areas? What was the relationship between apothecaries and spice merchants in these different regions? What about the apothecaries’ social position, religious identity, and level of regulation? Even though I plan to focus this new research project on apothecaries in Iberia, these issues are most fruitfully considered within a Mediterranean context that can incorporate developments Salerno, Montpellier, and Florence, among other places.
Extracurricular Interests: I look forward to long walks (both exploratory meanderings and power walks for exercise) without worrying about black flies or ticks and to having more than two restaurant choices. I am a foodie, and also a vegan, although I prefer to say that I do “plant-based eating.” I sometimes make exceptions while traveling in order to try regional food, and I am eager to explore Barcelona’s food markets and culinary scene. Due to the dearth of good yoga classes in my area, I try to take advantage when traveling. So if schedules and logistics permit, I may attend some classes at one of the Iyengar yoga studios in Barcelona if they have any in Spanish – or if I’m feeling up to an adventure in Catalán. Last summer’s classes in Madrid added words like “shoulder blades” to my Spanish vocabulary.
Institute Projects & Plans: Last summer I worked in Madrid, mostly in the Archivo Histórico Nacional’s Inquisition documents. In studying cases from the sixteenth century involving boticarios, I was struck by how many of them were from converso families, and by how little interest the Inquisition took in their actual practice as purveyors of medications. When they ran afoul of the Inquisition, it was due to something disrespectful muttered when a statue of the Virgin was being processed through the town, working on an important saint’s day, or having expressed doubts about central theological Christian teachings. Some apothecaries were prohibited by practicing as such because a parent had been punished by the Inquisition, and the punishment extended to the next generation, so some of them came to the attention of the Inquisition due to their sometimes imaginative efforts to circumvent these restrictions. Because the Inquisitorial process so carefully noted identifying information for relatives of the accused, it is possible to see families in which there were a number of medical practitioners (boticarios, physicians, surgeons) and also spice merchants.
All of this raises interesting questions that this seminar provides an ideal opportunity to explore. Were there any religious identities or ideologies associated with the practice of providing medicines and remedies or with mercantile activities in these areas? My research last summer left me with the impression that, despite various prohibitions over the years against medical encounters between Christians and non-Christians, in this area of life no one much cared about someone’s religious identity -- or former identity. But I need to expand to the wider space of the Mediterranean and also back in time into earlier centuries. Municipal archives have much to reveal because boticarios were often hired or licensed by towns. Admirable work by scholars such as Luís García-Ballester and Michael McVaugh has greatly advanced our understanding of medicine in the Middle Ages and Early Modern period. As panelists and audience members at several sessions at Leeds on medieval pharmacy last July noted, there is a need for more attention to the social history of practitioners.
I also wonder how integrated the use of medicinal products was throughout the Mediterranean. Was this a system of shared medical knowledge at the grassroots level (rather than the level of medical treatises or universities), or was knowledge mostly regional and the goods for sale in an average botica made mostly from locally available materials? Among the non-textual means by which knowledge could have been transmitted are family networks (especially families tied to trade) and religious orders that cared for the sick and were sometimes seen as authoritative sources on matters medical. How did family pharmaceutical businesses and guilds (which first arose in Florence) function? How did religious differences affect any of these contacts and networks, if at all?
My goal this summer will be to seek answers to these questions, and indeed any clues on the lives and work of boticarios, in the Arxiu Històric de la Ciutat de Barcelona, the Arxiu Municipal de Barcelona, and the Arxiu de la Corona d’Aragó. At the end of the seminar, I will give an account of what the archives had revealed and identify likely next steps for my research. This seminar could also prepare me to apply for more specific research grants in the future. Like the seminar readings and discussions, my research will also likely result in new ideas for my courses, especially Mediterranean World from 1200 to 1700 and Spain from 1000 to 1700.