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Politics of Convenience: Ethno-Religious Tolerance and Intolerance in the Medieval Mediterranean
This brown bag event will feature a talk by Brian Catlos, Associate Professor, Department of Religious Studies. The Medieval Mediterranean is known both as the crucible of Crusade and Jihad, the arena of the so-called "clash of civilizations," and the cradle of Abrahamic culture, and the locus of tremendous inter-religious acculturation and convivencia among the Christians, Muslims and Jews who cohabited its shores. Historical debate regarding the nature of ethno-religious interaction in this diverse environment remains both highly charged and highly polarized. As part of his project Paradoxes of Plurality: Ethnic and Religious Diversity in the Medieval Mediterranean and Beyond, Brian Catlos (Religious Studies, CU Boulder) is developing a theoretical approach to communal relations that aims to reconcile the apparently conflicting data and account for changes in policy and social and cultural relations among these groups -- an approach that may well have applications far beyond the Middle Ages and the Mediterranean. The present talk presents one facet of this approach -- the Principle of Convenience -- as it can be apprehended through the experiences of three individuals: a Christian, a Muslim, and a Jew, each of whom held considerable power within an "infidel" regime and each of whom met a grisly end, apparently as a consequence of religious difference.
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