University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

Identity in the Mediterranean World: From the Middle Ages to Today

Thursday to Saturday, April 7-9

Cosponsored by the Center for Medieval Studies, the Center for Jewish Studies, the Center for Early Modern History, and the Institute for Global Studies

This conference focuses on constructions of identities in the Mediterranean world from the Middle Ages to the present. By identities we refer both to self-defined cultural identities and identities imposed by others; in each case, more than just ethnicity or race is involved, but also law, class, politics, religion, language, and culture.

Identity as a focus has never been more relevant than at the present moment with its increased movements of peoples as immigrants, refugees, evacuees, transplants. In the medieval and early modern eras, the Mediterranean was a multicultural environment where, for example, peoples of different religious backgrounds, Jews, Muslims, Christians, and others – each part of cultures internally diverse – interacted with one another frequently. In the late modern era the Mediterranean has become a vital space of transit for peoples from Africa, the Middle East, and Asia en route to Europe’s southern shores. These 20th and 21st century migrations represent more than just a demographic reversal of earlier movements of peoples outward from Europe; they have raised questions about the extent to which many European societies have organized themselves in highly charged ways around a cultural myth that stresses the distinctions between Northern and Southern identities, between North and South.

Organized by the Institute for Advanced Study research collaborative, Identity in the Mediterranean World: From the Middle Ages to Today.


Thursday, April 7

4:00 p.m. Keynote by Bernard Bachrach, University of Minnesota, “Charlemagne’s Mediterranean Empire.” Chair: Ann Waltner, Institute for Advanced Study

Audio download (.mp3 – 89.9 MB), Video download (.m4v – 234.8 MB)

Question and Answer session with Professor Bachrach

5:30 reception and buffet, Nolte 120 (Fireplace Room), welcome by Kathryn Reyerson, IAS Mediterranean Collaborative Convener, Director of the Center for Medieval Studies, University of Minnesota

Friday, April 8

8:30 Coffee and Muffins, Nolte 125

9:00-10:30 – Conversion and the Question of Identity in the Mediterranean World

Chair:  Marguerite Ragnow, Curator of the James Ford Bell Library, University of Minnesota

Audio download (.mp3 – 89.9 MB)

Wadad Kadi, University of Chicago, “Self-Identity of the Non-Arab Muslim Bureaucracy in Early Islam: ‘Abd al-Hamid’s (d. 750) ‘Letter to the Secretaries’”

Nabil Matar, University of Minnesota, “Muslim Conversion to Christianity in the Early Modern Period”

Galina Yermolenko, DeSales University, “Ottoman Captivity and Religious Conversion in the Ukrainian Cultural Imagination”

10:30 Coffee Break

11:00-12:30 – Identity in Jewish Mediterranean Studies

Chair: Daniel Schroeter, Director of the Center for Jewish Studies, University of Minnesota

Audio download (.mp3 – 44.4 MB)

Fred Astren, San Francisco State, “Jews in and of the Medieval Mediterranean”

Yaron Tsur, Tel Aviv University, “The Mediterranean Itinerary and Concepts of an 18th Century Rabbi: Hayyim Yoseph David Azulay (HIDA, 1724-1806)”

Audio download (.mp3 – 37.9 MB)

Joëlle Bahloul, Indiana University, “The Mediterranean Identity of Sephardic Jews: Critical Reflections on Ethnographic Experiences”
12:30-1:30 Lunch Buffet, 140 Nolte Center

1:30 – 3:00 – Identities in the Medieval Western Mediterranean

Chair: Carla Phillips, History, University of Minnesota

Audio download (.mp3 – 82.5 MB)

Timothy Smit, University of Oregon, “Mediterranean Connections: Merchants and Identity in Medieval Sicily”

Kevin Mummey, University of Minnesota, “Enchained in Paradise: Slave Identity in Majorca”

Matt Desing, University of Texas, El Paso, “Shifting Perceptions of the Mediterranean and Clerical Identities: The Case of the Libro de Apolonio (13th C. Castile)”

3: 30 Coffee Break

4:00-5:30 – Identities in the Eastern Mediterranean

Chair: Gabriela Currie, Music, French and Italian, University of Minnesota

Audio download (.mp3 – 36.8 MB)

Jesse Izzo, University of Minnesota, “Frankish Identity: Culture and Political Symbolism of the Elite in 13th C. Acre”

Theresa Vann, Joseph S. Micallef Curator of the Malta Center, Hill Museum and Manuscript Library, Saint John’s University, “Muslim Identities in Christian Rhodes”

Cameron Bradley, University of Minnesota, “Hybrid Identities: Busbecq on Ethnicity and Religion in 16th C. Constantinople” (This talk was not recorded, per the speaker’s request.)

Jesse Izzo, Theresa Vann, and Cameron Bradley answer questions about their presentations.
Dinner – free choice

8:00 p. m. Entertainment

Friday evening – Rose Ensemble Concert  at the Norwegian Lutheran Memorial Church Mindekirken, 924 E 21st Street, Minneapolis

Saturday, April 9

8:30 Coffee and Muffins

9:00-10:30 – Italian Identities at Home and Abroad

Chair: Donna Gabaccia, History, University of Minnesota

Audio download (.mp3 – 22.2 MB)

Rachel Gibson, University of Minnesota, “Correspondence from Candia: Venetian Trade in Shifting Waters”

Audio download (.mp3 – 56.3 MB)

Tovah Bender, Agnes Scott College, “Name, Space, and Identity in Fifteenth Century Tuscany in Comparative Context”

Mark Aloisio, Colorado State University, “Medieval Pantelleria: Precarious Identity in a Frontier Society”
10:30 Coffee Break 

11:00-12:30 – Identity in the Modern Mediterranean

Chair: Patricia Lorcin,  IAS Mediterranean Collaborative Convener, University of Minnesota

Audio download (.mp3 – 107.6 MB)

Elizabeth Fraser, University of South Florida, “Miniatures in Black and White: Melling as Cultural Mediator”

Miriam Cooke, Duke University, “Mediterranean Cosmopolitanism”

Todd Shepard, Johns Hopkins University,”Rewiring the Erotic Charge of Empire: ‘Arab Men’ and French Fantasies of the Nation, 1967-1974”

Susanna Ferlito, University of Minnesota, “Mediterranean Wounds: Cristina di Belgioioso’s Exile in Turkey (1851-1856)”

12:30-1:30 Lunch Buffet

1:45-3:00, Performance of Venetian Music, 120 Nolte (Fireplace Room)

Introduction by Ann Waltner, Director of IAS, University of Minnesota

¡Saccabuche! Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University

3:30-5:00 – Identity in Venetian and Mediterranean Culture

Chair: John Watkins, IAS Mediterranean Collaborative Convener, University of Minnesota

Audio download (.mp3 – 93.2 MB)

David Perry, Dominican University, “Objects in Motion – the Material Culture of Medieval Venetian Identity”

Mark Netzloff, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, “”Anglo-Venetian Intelligence Networks and the Politics of Information”

Eric Dursteler, Brigham Young University, “Language and Identity in the Early Modern Mediterranean”

5:30 Final Reception and Buffet in 1210 Heller Hall

7:30 p.m. West Wing of the Campus Club

¡Saccabuche! Performance of  “Matteo Ricci: His Maps and Music.”

Sponsored by the Center for Early Modern History, The School of Music, and the Confucius Institute.

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