Current Institutional Affiliation
Associate Professor, Facultat de Humanitats, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 1999
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Religious Studies, University of California / Santa Barbara
Preaching Perfidy: Muslim and Christian Sermons in Medieval Spain and the Maghreb

Although we have intriguing evidence of medieval Christian popular piety, Islamic popular piety remains largely unexplored. Traditionally, scholarship on Islam has privileged the religion of the elites. However, an examination of piety as experienced by the masses is critical to achieve a fuller portrait of medieval Islam and the contacts and conflicts between Muslims and Christians. Moreover, if there was contact in the religious domain between the two groups, it probably occurred at the local level. As part of a larger project examining medieval popular piety in Iberia and North Africa, my dissertation compares Muslim and Catholic popular preaching and sermons from the 13th to 15th centuries. I will investigate the content and uses of the sermons, the role of preachers as shapers and products of popular piety, and the performative and literary aspects of preaching. I argue that preaching was a powerful means through which local Catholic and Muslim communities created and reaffirmed their religio-cultural identities during the turbulent years of the Christian Reconquista. I am seeking funding to conduct archival research in Spain and Morocco, where I will examine and translate several unique manuscripts of medieval Arabic Muslim and vernacular Catholic sermons and other sources essential to my dissertation.