Trade and Material Culture in the Medieval Mediterranean, Medieval Academy of American Annual Meeting, Emory University, March 1–3, 2018
The Mediterranean Seminar invites abstracts for a panel on Trade and Material Culture in the Mediterranean, one of the designated themes of the 2018 meeting of the Medieval Academy of America, to be held at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia on 1 - 3 March 2018.
Far from being a sea divided and a rigid frontier between the Byzantine, Islamic and Latin worlds, the Mediterranean was a region of connectivity and integration, in spite of the grand confessional and communal divisions at the heart of much conventional historiography. The trade—local, regional and intercontinental— upon which many Mediterranean economies and polities depended demanded the establishment of reciprocal, bilateral arrangements between principalities and peoples, forged by individual agents and investors of various religious and ethnic identities. Trade necessitated the creation of mechanisms of mediation, such as international law; it acted as a medium for the integration of minority groups into majority societies; it worked for and through the establishment of ethno-religiously defined transregional networks; it served as a vector for emigration, resettlement and colonization. Commerce fostered the development of artistic, literary, and intellectual culture though the flow of ideas that accompanied the circulation of commodities and people, including the slaves who served as skilled workers, laborers, and domestics. Through plunder, gift-exchange, and trade, the circulation of both craft items and luxury goods contributed to the cultural as well as economic integration of the region, serving as bridges between distinct cultural communities.
We are interested in papers from any relevant disciplines and approaches, including economic, social, and institutional history, art and cultural history (including music and literature) that examine the trade and material culture in the medieval Mediterranean in relation to the formation of religious, ethnic, linguistic and cultural identities. Particularly welcome are papers that take a comparative approach, present revisions of accepted historiography, and/or engage critically with the Mediterranean as frame of analysis.