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Mediterranean Reconfigurations

Intercultural Trade, Commercial Litigation, and Legal Pluralism

The book series Mediterranean Reconfigurations is devoted to the analyses of historical change in the Mediterranean over a long period (15th - 19th centuries), challenging totalizing narratives that “Westernize” Mediterranean history as having led naturally to European domination in the 19th and 20th centuries. In reality, the encounters of Muslim, Jewish, Armenian and Protestant merchants and sailors with legal customs and judicial practices different from their own gave rise to legal and cultural creativity throughout the Mediterranean. Through the prism of commercial litigation, the series thus offers a more accurate and deeper understanding of the practices of intercultural trade, in a context profoundly shaped by legal pluralism and multiple and overlapping spaces of jurisdiction. Comparative case studies offer empirically-based indicators for both regional and more general processes, here called "Mediterranean reconfigurations", e.g. the changing interplay and positioning of individual and institutional actors on different levels in a variety of commercial and legal contexts.

Edited by Kirill Dmitriev, Julia Hauser and Bilal Orfali

Insatiable Appetite: Food as Cultural Signifier in the Middle East and Beyond explores the cultural ramifications of food and foodways in the Mediterranean, and Arab-Muslim countries in particular. The volume addresses the cultural meanings of food from a wider chronological scope, from antiquity to present, adopting approaches from various disciplines, including classical Greek philology, Arabic literature, Islamic studies, anthropology, and history. The contributions to the book are structured around six thematic parts, ranging in focus from social status to religious prohibitions, gender issues, intoxicants, vegetarianism, and management of scarcity.

Series:

Edited by Dustin J. Byrd and Seyed Javad Miri

In Frantz Fanon and Emancipatory Social Theory: A View from the Wretched, Dustin J. Byrd and Seyed Javad Miri bring together a collection of essays by a variety of scholars who explore the lasting influence of Frantz Fanon, psychiatrist, revolutionary, and social theorist. Fanon’s work not only gave voice to the “wretched” in the Algerian War of Independence (1954-1962), but also shaped the radical resistance to colonialism, empire, and racism throughout much of the world. His seminal works, such as Black Skin, White Masks, and The Wretched of the Earth, were read by The Black Panther Party in the United States, anti-imperialists in Africa and Asia, and anti-monarchist revolutionaries in the Middle East. Today, many revolutionaries and scholars have returned to Fanon’s work, as it continues to shed light on the nature of colonial domination, racism, and class oppression.

Contributors include: Syed Farid Alatas, Rose Brewer, Dustin J. Byrd, Sean Chabot, Richard Curtis, Nigel C. Gibson, Ali Harfouch, Timothy Kerswell, Seyed Javad Miri, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Pramod K. Nayar, Elena Flores Ruíz, Majid Sharifi, Mohamed Imran Mohamed Taib and Esmaeil Zeiny.

Zayde Antrim

Abstract

Zayde Antrim’s study of Ibn al-Adim’s regional topography of Aleppo inscribes the author’s hometown into an established Syrian “discourse of place” but with a difference. In contrast to his Damascene predecessors, Ibn al-Adim’s Syria is oriented to the north and the marchland bordering the Christian Byzantine Empire. A host of historical and political contingencies shape this depiction of a land that defies easy delimitation.

Boris James

Abstract

The Kurdish lands that are the focus of Boris James’ study straddle contested territory between Mamluks and Mongols in northern Mesopotamia. James makes sense of countervailing internal tensions and external pressures that beset a tribal society on the fringes of strong centralized states. He employs a brand of social theory based on Ibn Khaldun’s historical sociology while problematizing the use of terms and allied concepts like “Kurd” and “Kurdistan” that defy easy categorization.

Mary Hoyt Halavais

Abstract

Mary Hoyt Halavais considers the meaning of “home” for the people of sixteenth-century Spain. Home, she argues, was not a political or territorial entity to which one was loyal; instead, it was a specific place, and the lived experience of the physical and the human in that place. The reaction of Moriscos (Muslims required by law to convert to Christianity) as well as their Christian neighbors to the exile of the Moriscos of Spain (1609-1614) demonstrates this. Christians within Spain—even those who are representatives of the government in Madrid—protect their Morisco neighbors with little regard for Madrid’s laws, refusing to surrender them to the authorities. In one case, the Council of Aragon, part of the King’s governing system, subverts an order of execution. Some of the Moriscos who are exiled, pirates who repeatedly raid Spain’s ships, attempt to negotiate a surrender of all of their goods and their ships, if only they are allowed to return to their home and their families. Home is a physical and communal space for these early modern Spaniards.

Steve Tamari

Abstract

Grounded Identities: Territory and Belonging in the Medieval and Early Modern Middle East and Mediterranean is a collection of essays on attachment to specific lands including Kurdistan, Andalusia and the Maghrib, and geographical Syria in the pre-modern Islamicate world. Together these essays put a premium on the affective and cultural dimensions of such attachments, fluctuations in the meaning and significance of lands in the face of historical transformations and, at the same time, the real and persistent qualities of lands and human attachments to them over long periods of time. These essays demonstrate that grounded identities are persistent and never static.

Steve Tamari

Abstract

Steve Tamari examines pre-modern antecedents for Syrian territorial integrity focusing on the sacredness of the land in the mind of the seventeenth-century scholar and traveler ʿAbd al-Ghani al-Nabulusi. Al-Nabulusi traveled back and forth between the cities and towns of geographical Syria with stops at hundreds of shrines and historical sites in between. His pilgrimage routes trace the contours of a distinct territory and accentuate the connections that tie countryside to city and one rural area to another.

Alexander Elinson

Abstract

Alexander Elinson’s study of the Andalusian scholar Ibn al-Khatib (d. 1374) is based on a host of literary sources including both fictional and expository modes of discource. His descriptions of place and shifting definitions of al-Andalus and the Maghrib problematize the separation between the two at a time when al-Andalus which was once at the center of the Muslim West is increasingly relegated to the periphery. Elinson concludes with a focus on the importance of Granada and Fez in the 14th century in terms of what would soon become “Europe” and “North Africa” and how these two cultural locales came to be essential in the definition of Spain and Morocco respectively.