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This volume explores a millennium of multilingual literary exchanges among the peoples of Sicily, the Iberian Peninsula, and North Africa: the Maghrib, or westernmost strongholds of medieval Islam. Beginning in the seventh century, Muslim expansion into the western Mediterranean initiated a new phase in the layering of heterogeneous peoples and languages in this perennial contact zone: Arabs and Berbers, Christians and Jews, Sunni and Shii'a Muslims, Greeks and Latins all shaped shared and contested identities, hybrid genealogies of knowledge, and fragile but vital political alliances. Waves of migration and the movement of scholars and poets transmitted and expanded canonical and convergent literary forms while facilitating the rise of new vernaculars and the adoption of "foreign" cultural practices and themes. These essays excavate the complexities of the literary artefacts produced in these times of turmoil, offering new perspectives on the intellectual networks and traditions that proved instrumental in overcoming the often traumatic transitions among political and/or religious regimes.
Nicola Carpentieri is assistant professor and Chair of Arabic and Islamic Studies at the University of Connecticut. He specializes in medieval Arabic poetry in the western Mediterranean and in Greek, Arabic, and Latin medical knowledge. He obtained his PhD from Harvard University in 2012.
Carol Symes is the Lynn M. Martin Professorial Scholar at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research focuses on the history of documentary practices and communication media in medieval Europe.