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CFP: Shared Religious Spaces, Rituals and Traditions in the Pre-Modern Islamicate Mediterranean (MESA: 18-21 November, Washington DC)

The Mediterranean Seminar is seeking paper proposals for sessions on, "Shared Religious Spaces, Rituals and Traditions in the Pre-Modern Islamicate Mediterranean,” to be held at the Middle East Studies Association Annual Meeting in Washington DC, 18-21 November 2017.

Previously seen by historians as a theater of conflict, and of crusade and jihad, divided into hostile zones of religious interaction, the Mediterranean is now recognized as a region in which religious boundaries were blurred, ambiguous and shifting. It was also a place in which Christians, Muslims and Jews of various denominations and orientations lived amongst each other, and had a profound influence on the development of each others’ religious beliefs and practices. This is rooted first and foremost in their common Abrahamic heritage, theological orientation and scriptural traditions. It was also due to a shared legacy of Perso-Hellenic (as well as Latinate, Nilic and other indigenous) esoteric beliefs and folk traditions, and common grounding in the Hellenistic philosophical tradition, all rooted in the shared geography of the Mediterranean. This was particularly evident in the Islamic-dominated Mediterranean, thanks to Islam’s legal pluralism, its orthopractic approach to doctrine, and the extremely ethno-religiously diverse character of the Islamic Near East.

For these panels we seek papers by scholars of the medieval and pre-modern Islamicate Mediterranean from a range of disciplinary perspectives (social, political and economic history, art history, literature, and anthropology) whose work explores the shared religious traditions, rituals and spaces of the area, as reflected in both conflicting and syncretic dynamics relating to ritual, theology, myth, legend and tradition, as expressed in law, polemic, doctrine and ideology, and in practice in devotional, ritual, and custom, whether relating to specific sites or itineraries (e.g. pilgrimage routes), or to the larger regional framework. Preference will be given to papers with a strong comparative, methodological or theoretical dimension, and which focus on more than one religious community (whether within or across the major confessional groupings). Organized by the Mediterranean Seminar, a scholarly forum with over 1,200 affiliates world-wide, we plan to invited specific scholars to submit proposals as well as to publish a general call for papers. This panel will provide a rare opportunity for scholars of different backgrounds who are each engaged in exciting, comparative work to converse with each other and the panel audience.

Proposal should be submitted via MESA’s online portal ( by 10 February.
For questions or further information, contact Brian A. Catlos ( and Fariba Zarinebaf (, organizers.

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