Conversion and Islam in the Early Modern Mediterranean : The Lure of the Other book cover
1st Edition

Conversion and Islam in the Early Modern Mediterranean
The Lure of the Other

Edited By

Claire Norton

ISBN 9781472457226
Published February 16, 2017 by Routledge
234 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

The topic of religious conversion into and out of Islam as a historical phenomenon is mired in a sea of debate and misunderstanding. It has often been viewed as the permanent crossing of not just a religious divide, but in the context of the early modern Mediterranean also political, cultural and geographic boundaries. Reading between the lines of a wide variety of sources, however, suggests that religious conversion between Christianity, Judaism and Islam often had a more pragmatic and prosaic aspect that constituted a form of cultural translation and a means of establishing communal belonging through the shared, and often contested articulation of religious identities. The chapters in this volume do not view religion simply as a specific set of orthodox beliefs and strict practices to be adopted wholesale by the religious individual or convert. Rather, they analyze conversion as the acquisition of a set of historically contingent social practices, which facilitated the process of social, political or religious acculturation. Exploring the role conversion played in the fabrication of cosmopolitan Mediterranean identities, the volume examines the idea of the convert as a mediator and translator between cultures. Drawing upon a diverse range of research areas and linguistic skills, the volume utilises primary sources in Ottoman, Persian, Arabic, Latin, German, Hungarian and English within a variety of genres including religious tracts, diplomatic correspondence, personal memoirs, apologetics, historical narratives, official documents and commands, legal texts and court records, and religious polemics. As a result, the collection provides readers with theoretically informed, new research on the subject of conversion to or from Islam in the early modern Mediterranean world.

Table of Contents


Claire Norton

Part 1: Trans-Imperial Subjects: Geo-Political Spatialities, Political Advancement and Conversion

1. Trans-Imperial Nobility: The Case of Carlo Cigala (1556–1631)

Tobias P. Graf

2. Conversion Under the Threat of Arms: Converts and Renegades during the War for Crete (1645–1669)

Domagoj Madunić

3. Conversion to Islam (and Sometimes a Return to Christianity) in Safavid Persia in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries

Giorgio Rota

4. Danube-Hopping: Conversion, Jurisdiction and Spatiality Between the Ottoman Empire and the Danubian Principalities in the Seventeenth Century

Michał Wasiucionek

Part 2: Fashioning Identities: Conversion and the Threat to Self

5. The Early Modern Convert as "Public Property": A Typology of Turning

Palmira Brummett

6. The Moment of Choice: The Moriscos on the Border of Christianity and Islam

Houssam Eddine Chachia

7. "Saving a Slave, Saving a Soul": The Rhetoric of Losing the True Faith in Seventeenth-Century Italian Textual and Visual Sources

Rosita D’Amora

Part 3: Translating the Self: Devotion, Hybridity and Religious Conversion

8. Antitrinitarians and Conversion to Islam: Adam Neuser Reads Murad b. Abdullah in Ottoman Istanbul

Martin Mulsow

9. The Many Languages of the Self in the Early Modern Mediterranean: Anselm Turmeda/'Abdallāh al-Tarjumān (1355–1423) – Friar, Muslim Convert and Translator

Elisabetta Benigni

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Claire Norton is Reader in History at St Mary’s University, Twickenham.