Religion and Politics in the Maghrib During the Middle Ages

NOV 19, 2013 | 6:30 PM TO 8:30 PM



The Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue




November 19, 2013: 6:30 PM-8:30 PM







Historiographical current dating back to the nineteenth century positivism, updated since the 1990s by cultural studies, argues, with Islamists, that Islam would not have known the separation of politics and religion. Through the presentation of a concrete historical example, this conference will show that the issue is much more complex than it seems. In the twelfth century, for the first time in history, Berbers unify the entire Maghreb, from the Atlantic to the current Libya and from the Sahara to the center of the Iberian Peninsula. The greatest scholars of the time, such as the famous philosopher and jurist Averroes, enter the service of the new rulers and participate in the development of a very original ideology and a new political organization: the Almohad Empire (1130-1269).

Pascal Buresi is senior researcher at the CNRS (National Center for Scientific Research-France). After studying the boundary between Christians and Muslims in the Iberian Peninsula from the eleventh to the thirteenth century, he focused his research on the political and religious history of the Maghreb during the same period. His most recent publication is Governing the Empire, a book he wrote with Hicham El Aallaoui. It contains the new scientific edition, translation, and study of an Almohad manuscript preserved in the Royal Library of Rabat.

Professors Anna Akasoy of Hunter College and Alex Elinson of Hunter College and the Graduate Center will participate in the event as well.