A New History of Islamic Spain
About the Book: In Kingdoms of Faith, award-winning historian Brian A. Catlos rewrites the history of Islamic Spain from the ground up, evoking the cultural splendor of al-Andalus, while offering an authoritative new interpretation of the forces that shaped it.
Prior accounts have portrayed Islamic Spain as a paradise of enlightened tolerance or the site where civilizations clashed. Catlos taps a wide array of primary sources to paint a more complex portrait, showing how Muslims, Christians, and Jews together built a sophisticated civilization that transformed the Western world, even as they waged relentless war against each other and their coreligionists. Religion was often the language of conflict, but seldom its cause–a lesson we would do well to learn in our own time.
About the author: Brian Catlos (Montréal, 1966) earned a PhD in Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto, and holds appointments as professor of religious studies at the University of Colorado Boulder and research associate in humanities at the University of California Santa Cruz.
His work centers on Muslim-Christian-Jewish relations and ethno-religious identity in medieval Europe and the Islamic World, and the history of the pre-Modern Mediterranean.
A board member of various academic journals, he also co-directs The Mediterranean Seminar, a major initiative and a forum for international and interdisciplinary collaboration in the emerging field of Mediterranean Studies, and directs the CU Mediterranean Studies Group at Boulder. He has published a number of books and articles including the The Victors and the Vanquished: Christians and Muslims of Catalonia and Aragon, 1050–1300 (Cambridge, 2004 *Premio del Rey & John E. Fagg Prize), Muslims of Medieval Latin Christendom, 1050–ca. 1615 (Cambridge, 2014 *Hourani Book Prize), and Infidel Kings and Unholy Warriors: Power Faith and Violence in the Age of Crusade and Jihad (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2014 *PROSE Award, hon. mention).
Awards and distinctions include the Governor-General of Canada's Gold Medal for Academic Achievement, two National Endowment for the Humanities Research Fellowships, and many other university, national and international fellowships and prizes. In July 2015 he co-directed his fourth four-week NEH Summer Institute for College and University Professors in Barcelona, Spain.
Praise for the book: "Mediterranean studies have been shaped in an informative and innovative way by Brian Catlos's contributions in the recent decades. His incursion now into the history of a specific region and polity--that of al-Andalus (Medieval Iberia under Muslim rule)--brings to the fore the same qualities that characterize his previous work: an inquisitive and incisive mind that homes in on perceptive questions, combined with the ability to recreate past events in an appealing manner for a wide audience."
—Maribel Fierro, research professor at the Institute of Languages and Cultures of the Mediterranean, CSIC (Madrid)
"Kingdoms of Faith constitutes a fresh and original contribution to the history of al-Andalus, rooted in the author's profound knowledge of medieval Iberian history. Brian Catlos has managed to produce a very well-written and lively narrative that provides an up-to-date synthesis of the most recent developments in this field of history."
—Alejandro García Sanjuán, University of Huelva