Religion and Society from the Medieval to the Modern

Published May 01, 2019

"Only through the study of the past, of cause and of circumstance, we can thoroughly understand present issues, attitudes and actions," comments Dr Esther-Miriam Wagner, Woolf Institute's Acting Director and Director of Research.

This Summer, Dr Wagner, together with academics and doctoral scholars at the Woolf Institute as well as academics within Cambridge, will lead on the Institute's first Summer School programme entitled, Religion and Society from the Medieval to the Modern.

The programme will examine the interactions between religion and society and between the different religious communities, with a focus on Jews and Muslims, in the Middle East, southern Europe and the Balkans from the medieval era to modern times.

Participants will be introduced to the study of religion in society and to different aspects of the history of Muslim-Jewish-Christian relations in the Middle East, Southern Europe and the Balkans. The programme aims to equip participants with the required analytical tools, bibliographical background and the necessary objectivity for the study of interfaith relations. This will include introductions to the shared history of religious law, insights into medieval and early-modern everyday life in the Middle East through the sources of the Cairo Genizah ('history from below'), examinations of interreligious relations between communities in Egypt, Israel/Palestine, Spain and Bosnia, and the importance of economic paradigms for interfaith encounters. Participants will also explore communal identity and segregation policies, political practices of forced conversions, power dynamics between minorities and majorities, and the socio-political function of historical narratives and tropes.

Places are still available for the Summer School 2019 programme, Religion and Society from the Medieval to the Modern (1-12 July 2019). Apply by 15 May 2019. Full details, including the application form, can be found at

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