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Race, Periodicity, and the (Neo-) Middle Ages

My goal is to intervene in ongoing discussions of race and periodicity, particularly vis-à-vis medieval culture, in order to investigate the informing role of the medieval and more particularly of medievalisms in the construction, representation, and perpetuation of modern racisms.

Slaves, Money Lenders, and Prisoner Guards: The Jews and the Trade in Slaves and Captives in the Crimean Khanate

Trade in slaves and captives was one of the most important (if not the most important) sources of income of the Crimean Khanate in the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries.

‘That melodious linguist’: Birds in Medieval Christian and Islamic Cosmography

“Birds,” writes Albertus Magnus, “generally call more than other animals. This is due to the lightness of their spirits.”

Venetian Trading Networks in the Medieval Mediterranean

To understand the system of business relations within the commercial network of the Republic of Venice, this article adopts a network analysis that differs from a standard narrative based on a privileged subset of actors or relations. It allows us to examine the socially mixed group of entrepreneurs, brokers, and shippers at the heart of Venice’s economic system.

Jews in the First Crusade: Culpability, Martyrdom, and Blood Vengeance

In medieval Europe, Jewish writers struggled to make sense of Crusaders’ violence and the Jewish response. Zohar Atkins argues that Jews conceived of theology as a weapon.

The Unwritten Chapter: Notes towards a Social and Religious History of Geniza Magic

How might the historian of religions write a social and religious history of Jewish magic in the medieval Islamicate world?

The Khazars did not convert to Judaism, historian finds

It has long been believed that the Khazars, a central Asian people, converted to Judaism in the ninth or tenth century. However, a new article concludes that the conversion never took place.

The Influence of Humanist Culture on Sephardi Scholars Active in Medieval Italy

This talk will set the context by introducing three generations of the Iberian Shohams, a late 14th-mid-15th century Sephardic family moving from Sicily to Apulia and Calabria.

Two Rabbinic Views of Christianity in the Middle Ages

In the sessions of our section over the past decade, I introduced a significant distinction between two rabbinic attitudes in the Mediterranean countries during the Middle Ages of 12th and 13th centuries as to their view of Christianity.

Jewish Shock-Troops of the Apocalypse

It would not be difficult to dismiss the legend of the Antichrist in its medieval manifestations as pure fantasy—analogous to such entertaining motifs as fire-breathing dragons, unicorns, enchantments and the like.

Setting Boundaries: Early Medieval Reflections on Religious Toleration and Their Jewish Roots

This paper explores particular ways in which Judaism’s approach to the problem of tolerating those with whom it could not comfortably live a shared life influenced its daughter faiths, especially Christianity.

The ‘Wiles of Women’ Motif in the Medieval Hebrew Literature of Spain

Most famous of all, perhaps is the tale of the woman whose husband leaves for battle. Her lover then sends his boy to tell her he is coming to her, and she seduces the boy.

Jews Have the Best Sex: The Hollywood Adventures of a Peculiar Medieval Jewish Text on Sexuality

According to quite a few books and films produced in the last few decades in Europe and North America, sex is widely celebrated in Jewish sources

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