Faithful Infidels: The Muslim Minority of the Medieval West
Wednesday, April 11, 2018 - 5:00pm
Faithful Infidels: The Muslim Minority of the Medieval West

WED April 11th | 5pm
Smith Memorial Student Union
RM 294


From the mid-eleventh century onwards there were significant Muslim minorities in the lands of Latin Christendom, both in the Mediterranean and central and eastern Europe. Living as a people apart, but impressively integrated in Christian-dominated society, these communities made important contributions to the shaping of European society and culture. But their experiences varied considerably. Some were “liberated” by conquest, while others were eventually exiled, expelled, or forced to convert, while a few persisted into the modern era.
While religious identity defined their status in Christian society it did not necessarily shape their experience, which varied considerably over time and place. On the whole, they were a group who were regarded as legitimate members of Christian lands, and who loyalty and value was broadly acknowledged. Their history shows that Muslims have historically had a place in Christian societies, and that they too are members of “Western” society.
Brian A. Catlos is Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder and Research Associate in Humanities at the University of California Santa Cruz. His work centers on Muslim-Christian-Jewish relations and ethno-religious identity in medieval Europe and the Islamic World, and the history of the pre-Modern Mediterranean. He also co-directs The Mediterranean Seminar, a forum for international and interdisciplinary collaboration in the emerging field of Mediterranean Studies. His books include The Victors and the Vanquished: Christians and Muslims of Catalonia and Aragon, 1050–1300 (Cambridge, 2004); Infidel Kings and Unholy Warriors: Power Faith and Violence in the Age of Crusade and Jihad (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2014); and Muslims of Medieval Latin Christendom, 1050–ca. 1615 (Cambridge, 2014). His next book, Kingdoms of Faith: A New History of Islamic Spain (Basic Books) will be out May 2018.