On May 30–31, Brian Catlos, Professor of Religious Studies, Jewish Studies, and Director of the CU Mediterranean Studies Group, has been invited to take part in "The Intimate Sea: Jews, Families, and Networks in the Mediterranean, " a two day colloquium sponsored by the Berman Center for Jewish Studies at Lehigh University. Featuring leading and up and coming Jewish Studies scholars from around North America and the UK, this two day event will be held at the Università di Salento in Lecce, Italy.
Scholars of Mediterranean Jewries (and the Mediterranean more generally) are increasingly laying emphasis on the importance of cross-regional and trans-oceanic networks to the history, culture, and commerce of the early modern and modern period. Rather than conceiving of the Mediterranean as a zone of diminishing import for the modern world, scholars are returning to the modern Mediterranean as a dynamic zone sustained by economic, cultural, and familial networks – networks that reached well beyond the borders of the sea itself.
This interdisciplinary and international workshop asks: How did informal, familial, or "intimate" sub-communal networks and partnerships enable the diffusion of Jewish mercantile activity, influence and ideas across the Mediterranean in the early modern and modern period? How might such networks have challenged or acted in lieu of state power? In what ways have such networks shaped communal and rabbinic forms of influence? Does the existence of these networks present challenges to traditional understandings of Jewish “communities,” which have generally been defined by their place within states or cities? How might the study of such networks change the way we think about Mediterranean Jewish history and experience; or the Mediterranean more generally?
Finally, The 2015 American Publishers Awards for Professional and Scholarly Excellence gave an Honorable Mention in the category of European and World History to Brian Catlos’s Infidel Kings and Unholy Warriors: Power, Faith and Violence in the Age of Crusade and Jihad (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014). The PROSE Awards annually recognize the very best in professional and scholarly publishing by bringing attention to distinguished books, journals, and electronic content in 54 categories.