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Workshop UvA –Amsterdam School of Historical Studies in cooperation with NISIS

13 June 2018
Klovenierburgwal 48
1012 CX Amsterdam
VOC zaal

Convivencia Debates: Issues and Methods in the Study of the History of interreligious contact in Medieval and Early Modern Iberia

The term Convivencia has been a contentious term in Iberian historiography used to describe the period in Muslim and Christian medieval rule when the three Abrahamic Faiths are said to have co-existed peacefully. This period is contrasted with the subsequent Reconquista, and the subsequent forced conversions of Jews and Muslims in the sixteenth century, and the expulsions of Jews in 1492 and the Muslims in 1609. The term has become commonplace for popularisers of the “Golden Age” view of Iberian medieval interfaith relations. However, this has drawn the ire of academics as it is considered an unjustified imaginary idealisation of a much more complex reality of competition and conflict. The post 9/11 political climate with the War on Terror, and European responses to Muslim citizens as well as anxieties over recent Muslim migrants, has heightened the stakes, as both Islamist groups and nativist European nationalists have polemically laid claim to the long Muslim presence in Iberian history. Questions that will be addressed are:

1. How are scholars to approach the term and concept of Convivencia as a framing device for medieval Iberia? By accepting it, qualifying it, or, in my view, explaining the reasons for controversy behind it?

2. What are the historical parallels to (a) the controversy over such a term in Christian-Muslim relations, and (b) avenues for comparisons in contemporaneous situations, such as Ottoman religious interrelations?

3. How do the concepts and debates surrounding the term Convivencia relate to other contested concepts in Iberian historiography, such as “Orientalism” , "Tolerance" and Early Modern Iberian “Race” (Limpieza de sangre)? What will an investigation of these related terms yield as historians approach these terms and Convivencia in a comparative analysis? 

All Day Event


Hicham Boutaleb, MA, PhD student at the University of Amsterdam
Dr Brian Catlos, University of Colorado Boulder
Dr Mònica Colominas Aparicio, Max Planck Institut Berlin
Dr Alejandro Garcia-Sanjuan, Huelva University
Professor Maribel Fierro, Spanish National Research Council, Madrid
Professor Gerard Wiegers, University of Amsterdam

Introduction: Hicham Boutaleb, doctoral student and organiser


09:45-10:00: Introduction
10:00-10:45: Catlos
10:45-11:30: García-Sanjuan
11:30-11:45: Coffee
11:45-12:30 Boutaleb
12:30-14.00: Lunch Break
14:00-14:45: Wiegers
14:45-15:30: Colominas
15:30-15.45:  tea
15:45-16:30: Fierro
16:30-17:00: Concluding discussion

PhD students can receive 1 EC for participation and by writing an assignment. For more information, please contact G.A.Wiegers@uva.nl, 020-5252104.

Admission is free, but registration before 1 June is obligatory. Please, write to Nanda de Groot at the Department of Religious Studies, mail: secr-religiewetenschappen-fgw@uva.nl, tel. 020-5252010.


Hicham Boutaleb, doctoral student and organiser hbo@post.cz +1 613 249 8060, +420 724 000 357
Prof. Gerard Wiegers, School of Historical Studies, University of Amsterdam, co-organiser, g.a.wiegers@uva.nl 

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