Mamluk Studies Resources

The Middle East Documentation Center at The University of Chicago

SEVENTH CONFERENCE OF THE SCHOOL OF MAMLUK STUDIES, CYPRUS, JULY 2-4, 2020

Themed Day Paper Proposal

The deadline for paper proposals is October 31, 2019.

The first day of the SMS 2020 conference in Cyprus will focus on Mamluk-Cypriot relations in a wider Euro-Mediterranean perspective under the title “Commerce and Crusade: The Mamluk Empire and Cyprus in a Euro-Mediterranean Perspective.” On the one hand, Cyprus was a Crusader state and this status was crucial for its standing and for raising support in Europe. On the other hand, Cyprus was a regional power with limited resources that could not continuously battle all its Islamic neighbours and their European partners. Hence, it had to establish a precarious modus vivendi between Crusade and commerce. It had to judiciously reduce its crusading to an affordably low level without jeopardizing its status as a Crusader front state. It also had to maximize its trade connectivity as an emporium between east and west and thus inevitably side with at least some of its Muslim neighbors, notably the Mamluks. How did Cyprus perform this balancing act militarily, diplomatically, and commercially? How did it camouflage, rationalize, and market cooperation with Muslim powers, notably the Mamluks, and how did it manage respective conflicts of interest such as profiting from Crusading piracy and trade with the Mamluks?

This themed day could include (but will not be limited to) papers on specific moments and periods in these relations (such as Cyprus and the Mamluks during the decline of the mainland Crusader states; Hugh IV and his policy of accommodation with the Mamluks; his son Peter’s apparent volte-face and the attack on Alexandria; Cyprus, piracy, and the Mamluk conquest of the island; Mamluk Cyprus; and finally the transition of Cyprus to Venetian rule and its implication for both Cypriot- and Veneto-Mamluk relations) or themes (such as commercial and cultural policies and relations; naval and military policies and cooperation; the diplomatic and cultural ramifications of the claim to the crown of Jerusalem with regard to relations with the Mamluks and Mamluk perceptions of this claim; etc.).

We invite also papers that help us to comprehend the problem more widely, i.e., against the backdrop of wider European-Mamluk relations, including the question of how the Mamluk Sultanate dealt with European-Christian partners/vassals: Cyprus’ links to the Mamluk Empire were entangled with its relations to other European powers and their relations to the Mamluk sultans. We, therefore, welcome papers on issues such as the impact of the late Crusades and Papal policies on relations between the Mamluk Sultanate and Cyprus or Latin Europe more generally; Mamluk-Byzantine relations; Islamic concepts of imperial and international law (dār al-ḥarb and beyond); European trade and diplomacy; etc.

A maximum of 12 to 15 paper proposals will be selected. Should a greater number of proposals be received, the authors of those which are not selected for the conference may be offered the possibility to publish their contribution in the proceedings. Time allotted to each paper will be twenty minutes, plus ten minutes for discussion.


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