Identity, Faith, and the Nation in the Mediterranean World

AHA Session 301
Sunday, January 8, 2017: 9:00 AM-10:30 AM
Mile High Ballroom 4C (Colorado Convention Center, Ballroom Level)
Anthony Grafton, Princeton University
Anthony Grafton, Princeton University

Session Abstract

Among the most persistent and problematic issues facing human society is the question of identity. Identity is a multi-faceted, complex construct that allows people to relate to others and to situate themselves in opposition to others. This panel examines the issue of identity through Catholic-Muslim interactions in the Mediterranean world from the late medieval period to the modern period. It specifically looks at Catholic constructions and interpretations of religious and national identity through the experience of writing history, engaging in overseas trade and legal affairs, and establishing missions among colonized peoples. Our intention is to stimulate a conversation about the historic practice and process of creating identity in Catholic states and institutions through their engagement with Muslim states and communities. The chronological scope covered by the papers is meant to pose questions about change and continuity over the longer durée: How has the rise of the nation-state as the dominant form of sovereignty and citizenship affected the way minority religious communities are perceived and integrated? Without “idealizing” the Early Modern Mediterranean as a golden age of toleration, what are we nevertheless to make of the centuries of commerce and cultural exchange that preceded the more violent, asymmetrical confrontations of the colonial era?
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