Current Research

Forthcoming publications
Upcoming and Recent Conference Papers and Presentations

My research concentrates on three areas.

First of all, I am interested in the relations between ethno-religious minorities in Pre-Modern Europe and the Islamic World and the groups that dominated the societies in which they lived. My Muslims of Medieval Latin Christendom, ca. 1050–1614 (Cambridge University Press, March 2014) is the first overall study of Muslim minorities in Latin Christian lands during the Middle Ages.

The focus of my forthcoming monograph also relates to Christian-Muslim-Jewish relations. Kingdoms of Faith: A New History of Islamic Spain (New York: Basic Books), examines the political, social and cultural history of the Muslims of the Iberian Peninsula from the time of the Islamic conquest in the seventh century until the expulsion of the Moriscos in the early seventeenth. A translation into German is under contract with Beck (Frankfurt), and simpllified Chinese translation with Gikngko (Beijing).

Second, I am studying the pre-Modern Mediterranean as a historical/cultural region and am involved in developing the emerging field of Mediterranean Studies. This will eventually lead to substantial publications both on the nature of the Mediterranean and a historical narrative of Medieval Mediterranean history; for the time-being, I have completed a book for a broad audience, Infidel Rulers and Unholy Warriors: Power, Faith, and Violence in the Age of Crusade and Jihad (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, August 2014).

This relates to my ongoing work on comparative projects that theorize the inter-confessional relations in the Middle Ages. Over the last ten years I have been developing the idea of what I call the "Principle of Convenience," or Conveniencia, to account for the development and persistence of pluralistic societies in the medieval West. This idea is the subject of a book now nearing completion, An Age of Convergence: Christians, Muslims and Jews in the Pre-Modern Mediterranean (for Spring 2023).

But Mediterranean Studies is also about pedagogy, In 2022 together with Thomas Burman and Mark Meyerson, I published a textbook, The Sea in the Middle: The Mediterranean World, 650-1650 (Univeristy of California) and a source reader, Texts from the Middle: Documents from the Mediterranean World, 650–1650 (University of California). 

My next book project is James the Conqueror. A Crusader King in an Age of Faith and Reason. Other current undertakings include a number shorter archival studies on the Muslims and Jews of late Medieval Christian Spain, various projects connected to Mediterranean Studies.

Finally, I continue to carry out original research on unedited archival material from the 12th to 16th centuries, looking at the lives of Muslims, Christians and Jews living in Christian-ruled Spain. I focus as much as possible on "everyday" people, looking at how their religious identity impacted their lives, and how they juggled various identities. I have a number of articles in various stages of preparation, and the next book to emerge from this research will be titled, Common Histories: Everyday Lives of Muslims and Jews in Medieval Spain.

My interest in Mediterranean Studies led me to co-found The Mediterranean Seminar (www.mediterraneanseminar.org), a scholarly forum for the development of the Mediterranean Studies as an interdisciplinary research and teaching field, and as a platform for collaboration and exchange among scholars worldwide. This has included international collaborations, conferences, and conference sessions, academic exchanges, a 14-week residential research group, four NEH Summer Institutes, a major grant from the University of California to establish a Mediterranean Studies Multi-Campus Research Group, and the foundation of a Center for Mediterranean Studies at the University of California Santa Cruz. In 2010 the University of Colorado at Boulder awarded the CU Mediterranean Studies Group (an initiative I co-founded and direct) and two Innovative Seed Grants. The Mediterranean Seminar is now hosted by the Department of Religious Studies at CU Boulder, and funded by our partner institutions, which host our quarterly workshop/symposia at campuses across the USA.