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Sociohistorical and Cultural Relations in Premodern Mediterranean Societies through Literature and Folklore between the 11th and 17th Centuries

The research team of the ERC funded research project Arabic Poetry in the Cairo Genizah (APCG), at the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Studies, School of Languages, Literatures and Cultural Studies, Trinity College Dublin, University of Dublin, is pleased to invite you to participate in their international conference “Sociohistorical and Cultural Relations in Premodern Mediterranean Societies through Literature and Folklore between the 11th and 17th Centuries”.

19th & 20th of June, 2023



The pre-modern Mediterranean was composed of diverse ethnic groups, religions and societies, making it a rich environment for ethnoreligious and sociocultural exchange. Increased access to digitised manuscript collections and fragmentary archive provides exciting opportunities to consider the relations between Jews, Christians, and Muslims across the Mediterranean through the investigation of literary materials – poems, fables, folk stories, legends, and myth, as well as the sentiments expressed in manuscripts, documents, letters, and personal accounts. An example is the fragments of medieval and early modern Arabic poetry from the Genizah collection, from which the APCG team at Trinity College Dublin study the sociocultural and intellectual life of the Jewish community and the mutual influence between the Muslim and Jewish cultures.

The Genizah fragments represent literary history which covers almost a thousand years of cultural production, giving insights into the multicultural aspects of the Mediterranean societies of the day, demonstrating a significant cultural exchange through, inter alia, poetic literature. This conference thus seeks papers on the theme of the educational and historical context of relations and between Jews, Christians, and Muslims, among others, through analysing the above works of high culture and mainstream literature. It also aims to uncover new perspectives on their sociocultural relations and exchanges, and highlight the extent of their interdependency.

In the same context, collections of medieval and early modern fragments and manuscripts, including letters, legal or official documents, diwans of poetry, mythic tales or fables, popular histories, or personal narratives, are accessible through numerous libraries and archives. An examination of these documents reveals aspects of the “micro” and “macro” historical relations across the Mediterranean. Studying individual documents or works of literature can both present unique perspectives and reveal particular challenges to a balanced interpretation of the nature of intercommunal relations, or to educational and cultural dependencies as they were realised through diverse communities over periods of hundreds of years in the pre-modern Mediterranean.

Through this conference, we seek to bring together scholars, including PhD researchers of various disciplines, including, but not limited to, History (especially sociocultural and educational histories), Literature, Philology, Anthropology, Manuscript Sciences, Archaeology, Philosophy, Sociology, Theology and Religious Studies including papers focusing on theory and methodology. We are looking forward to engaging discussions on the opportunities and challenges inherent in diverse subjects for the purpose of writing history. The convenors plan to publish an open-access volume of papers on the theme of the Conference, particularly Jewish-Christian-Muslim sociocultural and educational histories in the pre-modern Mediterranean.


The conference committee will be pleased to accept 20-minute research papers. Themes may include but are not limited to:

  • relationships between Jews, Christians, and Muslims through literature (especially poetry), culture, and languages;
  • inter-communal relations across the Mediterranean through social and educational history;
  • literary and cultural exchanges;
  • evidence of interrelations through travel literature;
  • education and pedagogy: How did the educational and pedagogical systems of each religion reflect shared virtues and intercultural aspects while simultaneously exhibiting discrete differences?
  • prominent myths and prophecies of the relationships and communications between Jews, Christians, Muslims and other Mediterranean communities;
  • popular images of interactions between minority and majority communities, particularly through literature, fragments, travels and folklore
  • morality and ethics;
  • archaeological evidence of sociocultural and educational relations;
  • influences of intellectual communications on medicine, science, nature etc
  • dynamics between popular and academic perceptions of relationships between Jews, Christians, and Muslims, among others;
  • the construction of communications between Jews, Christians and Muslims in encyclopaedias, documentaries, images, and texts


Abstract of Paper and Panel Proposals:

We welcome proposals for papers and panels. Paper proposals should consist of an approximately 250-300 word abstract and a brief biographical note, including research interests and the most relevant publications. Panel proposals should nominate a chair for the session and include a session abstract, title and a brief abstract for each participant’s paper, along with a brief bio.


All proposals should be submitted to Ahmed M. A. Sheir ([email protected]) and Muhammad Imran khan ([email protected]), by 31st September 2022.


Costs and Publication:

A bursary will be provided towards travel and accommodation costs and the selected papers will be published in an open-access volume.


We look forward to welcoming you to the event!


  • June 19, 2023
Register now