"Reading Aljamiado”:The first Annual Mediterranean Seminar Summer Skills Seminar featuring, Dr. Nuria Martínez-de-Castilla (Universidad Complutense de Madrid)

Date/Location: 16-20 May, 2016, CU Boulder

This summer skills seminar was a four-day hands-on course for graduate students, faculty and professionals on reading Aljamiado (the literature produced by Spanish Moriscos written in Castilian with Arabic letters). The workshop covered the basics of the Aljamiado alphabet including key differences with the classical Arabic alphabet, and emphasizing hands-on transcription exercises, as well as the history of the Moriscos and their literature, book production, codicology, relevant library collections, and a review of relevant reference works. By the end of the course those who came with a good working knowledge of the Arabic alphabet were able to read unedited Aljamiado texts.

The Skills Seminar began with a public event: “Europe's Problem with Islam... 500 Years Ago: Morisco Identity & Aljamiado Literature in Early Modern Spain,” a colloquium open to the public, featuring Brian A. Catlos (Religious Studies: CU Boulder), Sabahat Adil (Asian Languages & Civilizations: CU Boulder), and Núria Martínez-de-Castilla Muñoz (Arabic and Islamic Studies: Universidad Complutense de Madrid) • 6:30pm at the Grand Assembly Hall at Chautauqua Historical Park.

Dr. Núria Martínez-de-Castilla with the Skills Seminar Participants


Participants who completed the Skills Seminar included:
Sabahat Adil: Asian Languages & Civilizations, University of Colorado at Boulder (C0-Organizer)
Hollie Allen: Spanish and Portuguese, University of Colorado at Boulder
Hayley Bowman: History, University of Michigan
Laurie Brand: International Relations and Middle East Studies, University of Southern California
Andrea Castonguay: History, University of Notre Dame
Brian A. Catlos: Religious Studies, University of Colorado Boulder (Organizer)
Celine Dauverd: History, University of Colorado at Boulder
Abdullah Farooqi: Department of History, University of Toronto
Erica Feild: Department of Spanish and Portuguese, New York University
David Hirsch: Research Library and Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, University of California at Los Angeles
James Holmes: History, Holy Family University
Thomas Kealy: Humanities, Colby-Sawyer College
Veronica Menaldi: Spanish and Portuguese Studies, University of Minnesota
Luis X. Morera: History, Baylor University
Andrea Nate: Hispanic Studies, Brown University
Andrea Pauw: Department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese, University of Virginia
Rachel Richman: Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, The Ohio State University
Núria Silleras-Fernández: Dept. of Spanish and Portuguese, University of Colorado at Boulder
Dillon Webster: Depts. Religious Studies & History , University of Colorado at Boulder

Some comments by participants:

"The workshop provided me with a fantastic opportunity to continue developing my ajamiado skills as well as the rare chance to be in a room with so many specialists and fellow medievalists interchanging ideas and learning from each other. I would do it all again. Great course! "
- Veronica Menaldi

"The skill seminar provided an excellent combination of historical context, practical skill development and discussion of cutting edge research questions in the field. Dr. Nuria Martinez de Castilla was extremely knowledgeable, approachable and helpful both during lectures and in less formal settings. The course provided me with valuable skill development and access to fields of investigation that were closed to me before taking the seminar."
- Hollie Allen

"The Aljamiado Skills Seminar was a fantastic week of learning that opened up a trove of future research possibilities. Nuria's expertise, the lively group of interdisciplinary scholars, and the exposure to numerous unfamiliar manuscripts made this course an invaluable experience.  Highly recommend. "
- Andrea Pauw

"The Mediterranean Seminar hit another home run. Time and time again, the think tank that is the Mediterranean Seminar uncovered an important gap in scholarly training and discourse, and figured out a way to remedy it. Unlike traditional scholarly societies, the group is limited in its staffing and support base of yearly dues. The energy and creativity of its members and leadership, however, gets stuff done. It's amazing."
- Luis X. Morera

"I was very surprised at how much progress we all made in our reading skills over the week. The instructor was excellent, patient, and knowledgeable, establishing a great mix of both theory and practice. I am bringing a great deal of material back to enhance my own classes."
- Thomas Kealy

The 2017 Summer Skills Seminar will be announced in fall 2016; information at mailbox@mediterraneanseminar.org