Voices of Conflict and Collaboration in the Medieval Mediterranean: Introduction

M Lower, UZ Shachar

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial

1 Scopus citations


The Mediterranean Sea has provided a captivating context for those seeking to articulate a history of cultural interactions in the pre-modern world. The thirst for such an articulation is understandable: rapid changes in sociological patterns worldwide have brought the theory and practice of the modern nation-state under frequent attack. Large-scale migration – the result of extreme climate change and civil wars (often connected) – leading to greater cultural diversity and frequent interaction across ethno-religious lines are all hallmarks of our world. Voices throughout the West are questioning the suitability of the state to provide (or protect) individual and collective rights. Others view the state, and especially state formation – not only on its imperial model – as the source of the most transparent, and therefore pernicious, form of modern oppression. This mind-set has yielded, for example, powerful critiques of secularism (or laïcité in its distinctly French form), which despite its naïve anti-clerical origins, is implicitly defined by assumptions that sanction practices and ideologies that are deeply rooted in the Christian tradition. More generally, recent years have seen a surge of studies that seek to reveal the idea of European singularity not so much as an ideal to boast of, but as a trope whose (not always flattering) history bears unfolding.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-247
Number of pages7
JournalAl-Masaq: Islam and the Medieval Mediterranean
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Religious studies


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