Date of Award

Summer 8-9-2022

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

History

First Advisor

Allen Fromherz

Second Advisor

Denise Davidson

Third Advisor

Ian Fletcher

Abstract

This project studies the religiously and ethnically diverse communities of twelfth-century Sicily. This society was noteworthy for the high degree of religious and cultural accommodation relative to other Christian polities of that era. The thesis focuses on a particular primary source: The Travels of Ibn Jubayr. The recorded observations of Ibn Jubayr (1145-1217 CE), a scholar and poet from Almohad Granada who was shipwrecked on Sicily on his way back from a pilgrimage to Mecca, are contextualized within his own cultural perspective and experience. The thesis makes comparative studies of other societies throughout the region through other sources. Using these sources, it engages with the ongoing historiographical debate which interprets events during this period as being one of cultural interchange and development against the classical “clash of civilizations” narrative. It also argues that contemporary religious movements were an important part of the political landscape.

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