Departamento de Estudios Judíos e Islámicos
Instituto de Lenguas y Cultura del Mediterráneo y Oriente Próximo
SH-Social Sciences and Humanities
SH6 The Study of the Human Past
SH5 Cultures and Cultural Production
Cultural History of the Mediterranean (http://www.ilc.csic.es/es/node/289410) is a research team at the Institute of Languages and Cultures of the Mediterranean and Near East (CCHS-CSIC). The team is the natural continuation of a previous research cluster: East in West: Challenging Borders (http://www.cchs.csic.es/es/content/oriente-en-occidente-desafiando-fronteras).
Members of this research group work with primary sources written in Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Arabic and vernacular European languages from a cross-cultural and inter-disciplinary perspective. With occasional incursions into Late Antiquity and Modern times, they are all scholars of the Medieval and Early Modern periods and work primarily on the various cultures of the Mediterranean, with particular interest in the following areas:
- The religious and intellectual history of Iberia and the Islamic West: law, theology, and political history and thought, with particular attention to biographical and hagiographical literatures.
- The study of religious minorities, with a focus on: a) cross-cultural and cross-religious phenomena such as conversion, messianism, religious dissidence, dissimulation, and strategies of group belonging; b) the cultural production of religious minorities, including literature, exegesis, and polemics; c) multilingualism and translation; d) textual transmission and reception.
- The history of the book, the study and interpretation of the manuscript as a historical and cultural object, the relation between object and text, reading practices, using and collecting manuscripts, and book transmission and circulation.
- Historiography, including the history of Spanish Early Modern orientalism.
Integrantes / People
Esperanza Alfonso (researcher in charge) specializes in Jewish cultural history in the Middle Ages, with a focus on cultural contact in the literature and exegesis produced in the Iberian Peninsula. She has been Principal Investigator of an ERC Starting Grant Project (ERC-2007-StG 209044-INTELEG), “The Intellectual and Material Legacies of Late Medieval Sephardic Judaism: An Interdisciplinary Approach,” funded by the European Research Council, and a member of various other research projects funded by the Plan Nacional de I-D+i. She has taught at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Cornell University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Universidad Complutense of Madrid, and has been Research Fellow at the Oxford Center for Hebrew and Jewish Studies (Spring Term 2008) and the Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, University of Pennsylvania (1998-1999 and Spring Term 2013).
Maribel Fierro is a scholar of the political, intellectual and religious history of al-Andalus and the Medieval Islamic West. She has written extensively on Islamic law and the debates over religious practices and doctrines, on the relation between violence, religion and political power, and on the construction of orthodoxy in Islamic societies. She has taught at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Stanford University, Chicago University, Freie Universität Berlin, and Exeter University. She has led an ERC Advanced Grant program (nº 229703, 2009-2014) and various projects funded by the Spanish National Research Plan. She has obtained awards from the University of California Santa Barbara and the Humboldt Foundation (Anneliese Maier Award, 2014) and served as Al-Qasimi Visiting Professor of Islamic Studies at the Institute of Arabic and Islamic Studies, Exeter University (2019-2020) and Abdul Aziz Saud Al-Babtain Cultural Foundation, as well as Visiting Professor in Arabic Culture at Leiden University (2020-2021).
Mercedes García-Arenal is a cultural and religious historian focusing mainly on religious minorities in the Iberian world and the Mediterranean in the Early Modern period. She has authored and co-authored several books, as well as edited and directed many others based on research projects she has led and published an extensive number of learned articles in important journals in English, French and Spanish. Most of her work is concerned with the establishment of frontiers between groups, and how individuals have managed to cross them, paying special attention to the capilarity of these frontiers and to new phenomena of cross-cultural mobility. She has focused primarily on Islamic minorities in Iberia, but also Jews and Judeo-Conversos in Iberia, as well as Jews and Jewish converts to Islam in Islamic lands. As such, throughout her career she has been interested, either directly or indirectly, in religious conversion, at both the individual and collective levels. She has developed an innovative vision of the dynamics of cultural change and exchange in Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. In so doing, she has challenged prevailing assumptions that religious change is driven by autochtonous forces within each tradition, accounting for the impact that interaction had on their historical developments. Her work also challenges the polarized description of majority–minority groups on multiple levels, and questions the scholarly reproduction of these polarized patterns. She has been PI of the ERC Advanced Grant CORPI (“Conversion, Overlapping Religiosities, Polemics, Interaction” (2007-2013), and is now Coordinator of the ERC Synergy Grant EuQu, «The European Quran” (1018-2023), as well as a member of the Scientific Council of the ERC and recipient of the Premio Nacional de Investigación Menéndez Pidal 2019.
Inmaculada Pérez Martín specializes in Byzantine cultural history, manuscript studies, geography, scribal practices, and textual transmission in the Byzantine world. She has been Visiting Professor at the EHESS (March 2009), Universidad Carlos III (December 2010), Central European University, Budapest (July 2011), Universidad San Dámaso (2010-2018), Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (October-November 2019), and Visiting Scholar at Harvard University (September 2009-August 2010). She has also served as the President of the Sociedad Española de Bizantinística (2009-2017) and the editorial director of the journal Estudios bizantinos (2013-2018).
Fernando Rodríguez Mediano’s areas of research include the sociology of religious elites in Morocco (15th-17th centuries); Moroccan hagiographical and biographical literature; Spanish-Moroccan relations (16th-17th centuries); the Spanish Protectorate over Northern Morocco (1912-1956); and the History of Spanish Early Modern Orientalism (17th century). He has been Visiting Professor at the EHESS (Paris) and has participated in various research programs funded by the European Research Council, the European Science Foundation, the Spanish national R&D Plans, and regional plans for R&D. He was Director of the Journal Al-Qantara (CSIC) and Director of the «Estudios árabes e islámicos. Monografías» series (CSIC).
Elvira Martín Contreras specializes in the textual transmission and reception of the Hebrew Bible text, with a focus on rabbinic literature and the marginal annotations that appear in most of the extant medieval Hebrew Bible manuscripts, referred to as Masora. She is interested in annotation practices in medieval Hebrew Bibles, as well as Hebrew palaeography, and has been Visiting Scholar at the Faculty of Oriental Studies, Cambridge University, UK. (November 2000 – June 2002), British Academy Visiting Fellow (award for early-career scholars, 2006), Visiting Fellow at the School of Languages, Linguistics and Cultures, Faculty of Humanities, University of Manchester (October-December 2006), and Honorary Research Fellow at the Centre for Jewish Studies, University of Manchester (October- December 2006). She was Principal Investigator of the project “The Role of the Rabbinic Literature in the Textual Transmission of the Hebrew Bible” (1st part 2007-2010, 2nd part 2012-2015, funded by the Plan Nacional de I-D+i). She has authored several monographs and was co-editor of “The Text of the Hebrew Bible. From the Rabbis to the Masoretes” (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht 2014).
Jan Thiele is a scholar of Islamic intellectual history specializing in medieval rational theology. He has contributed to the study of hitherto unexplored thinkers, texts and scholarly traditions. He is the author of Kausalität in der muʿtazilitischen Kosmologie (Brill, 2011) and Theologie in der jemenitischen Zaydiyya (Brill, 2013). He was Senior Research Associate in the ERC Advanced Grant Project “Rediscovering Theological Rationalism in the Medieval World of Islam” (PI: Sabine Schmidtke) and Principal Investigator of the projects «Abu Bakr al-Baqillani (d. 403/1013) and the scholastic consolidation of Ashʿarism» (M4HUMAN FP7-PEOPLE-2010-COFUND, 2013–2015) at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, “Travelling knowledge in medieval Islam: the Ashʿarites of al-Andalus and North Africa” (TRAKIMI FP7-PEOPLE-2013-IEF, 2015-2017), and “Reason and Belief: Theological Debates in the Medieval and Early Modern Islamic West” (Spanish national R&D Plan, 2019-2021) at ILC-CCHS (CSIC).
Elsa Cardoso is a Juan de la Cierva Fellow at the Institute of Languages and Cultures of the Mediterranean and the Near East (ILC) of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), in (Madrid), since April 2022, developing her research in History of Islam, especially dedicated to the History of al-Andalus. She earned her Ph.D. (2020, Distinction and Honours), with a thesis on the conceptualization of the Umayyad Andalusi court, whose publication is forthcoming (2023) in Routledge with the title The Door of the Caliph. Concepts of Court in the Umayyad Caliphate of al-Andalus. From April 2021 to March 2022, she was as postdoctoral fellow of the German DFG Center RomanIslam- Center for Comparative Empire and Transcultural Studies, at the University of Hamburg. Her work and publications have focused on the court, diplomacy and ceremonial of the Umayyads of Cordoba, seeking comparative perspectives in the Mediterranean, thus considering the Abbasid, Fatimid and Byzantine courts. She is currently developing her research on historiography of al-Andalus, both in Portugal and Spain, as well as on history of the Gharb al-Andalus (western al-Andalus) and its perception in historiography and literature.
Javier del Barco is a specialist in Hebrew codicology and paleography, and in the history of Hebrew manuscripts from the late Middle Ages to early Modernity. His research focuses on the study and interpretation of the manuscript as a historical and cultural object, the relation between object and text, reading practices, the use and collection of manuscripts, and Hebrew book transmission and circulation. He has been PI of the project Legado de Sefarad. La producción material e intelectual del judaísmo sefardí Bajomedieval, I-II (LEGARAD I-II), and is PI at the CSIC by agreement with the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes concerning the project “Books within Books. Hebrew Fragments in European Libraries”. [Former member]
Adday Hernández López specializes in the intellectual history of al-Andalus. She has collaborated on the ERC project “Knowledge Heresy and Political Culture in the Islamic West” and has been Visiting Scholar at both the University of Exeter (2011) and Harvard University (2013). She was a researcher for the project “Manuscripts dated in al-Andalus,” CCHS-CSIC, (May 2014-Feb 2015) and the ERC project “Islam in the Horn of Africa Project: A Comparative Literary Approach” at the University of Copenhagen. She is the author of El valor del tiempo: Doctrina jurídica sobre la usura (ribā) y prácticas usurarias en el occidente islámico medieval (Helsinki, 2016), El Kitāb al-ribā (libro de la usura) de ʻAbd al-Malik b. Ḥabīb (m. 238/852), and La doctrina legal temprana sobre la usura (Madrid, 2017). [Former member]
Katarzyna K. Starczewska focuses on the intersection between the Arabic language and Latin. She has studied the networks of early modern translators whose target language was Latin, the reflection of Latin interreligious polemics on early modern treatises in national languages, and the earliest grammar books of Arabic written in Latin. She is the author of Latin Translation of the Qur’ān commissioned by Egidio da Viterbo (Harrassowitz, 2018), and was the guest editor of “Translating Sacred Texts in Early Modern Iberia,” a special issue of Medieval Encounters 26, nos. 4-5 (2020). [Former member]
Alfredo Calahorra Bartolomé. Investigador predoctoral
Adrián Rodríguez Iglesias. Investigador predoctoral
Mounir Saifi. Investigador predoctoral
Patricia Carina Sánchez García. Investigadora predoctoral
Arturo Miguel Guerrero Enterría. Técnico BBDD
Teresa Madrid Álvarez-Piñer. Técnica Edición
Laura Rodríguez Del Pozo. Gestora de proyecto