Religion, Migration & Conflict in the Ancient to Early-Modern Mediterranean

Throughout history, the Mediterranean has been a locus for the interaction and exchange of cultural and religious groups. We propose to explore the spectrum of tolerance that surfaces beginning in the Ancient World and continuing through the Middle Ages to the Early-Modern period in the Mediterranean and that continues to influence interactions today. Specific periods of religious and cultural conflict are punctuated by migration and exile. At the same time, intercultural interaction and exchanges lead to innovative and unexpected cultural and artistic expressions.

Specific moments that we will discuss include the migration of Germanic tribes into the Eastern and Western Roman Empire, the exile of bishops, the Reconquista (in the Iberian peninsula) and consequent migration waves of Jews and Muslims throughout the Mediterranean and the Inquisition. Such interactions can lead to rich exchanges in the arts and cultural sphere, as happened during the emergence of the Ottoman Empire and after the ethno-religious conflicts in the Western Mediterranean. Conflict, competition, and conversion are key processes that we can compare as we consider how groups migrate and cohabit in the Ancient, Medieval and Early-Modern Mediterranean World.

We envision a series of meetings geared to fostering dialogue among scholars at UCR whose work encompasses Mediterranean studies. The topic is intentionally broad, allowing us to include different disciplines, cultural groups and periods for whom this theme is relevant. Within this wide thematic exploration, some topics might include:

  • Migration, Exile and the Religious Conflict in the Mediterranean: From the Classical to Late Antique Period
  • Religious Conflict and Tolerance in the Medieval to Early-Modern Mediterranean
  • Migration as explored through the Arts of the Mediterranean from Antiquity to the Early-Modern period


Erith Jaffe-Berg, Prof. and Chair, Department of Theatre, Film and Digital Production
Michele Salzman, Prof. Department of History
Fariba Zarinebaf, Associate Prof. Department of History