Book Talk- William E. Granara- Narrating Muslim Sicily


Thursday, March 26, 2020, 5:30pm to 7:30pm


Tunisia Office Center for Middle Eastern Studies Harvard University, Les jardins du Lac II, Tunis

Narrating Muslim Sicily- Granara- March 2020

The Tunisia Office of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University presents:

Narrating Muslim Sicily
War and Peace in the Medieval Muslim World

A book talk with

William E. Granara

Gordon Gray Professor of Arabic and Comparative Literature at Harvard University


Alex Metcalfe

Senior Lecturer in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at Lancaster University



In 902 the last Byzantine stronghold in Sicily fell, and the island would remain under Muslim control until the arrival of the Normans in the eleventh century. Drawing on a lifetime of translating and linguistic experience, in Narrating Muslim Sicily (2019, Bloomsbury), William Granara focuses on the various ways in which medieval Arab historians, geographers, jurists and philologists imagined and articulated their ever-changing identities in this turbulent period. All of these authors sought to make sense of the island's dramatic twists, including conquest and struggles over political sovereignty, and the painful decline of social and cultural life. Writing about Siqilliya involved drawing from memory, conjecture and then-current theories of why nations and people rose and fell. In so doing, Granara considers and translates, often for the first time, a vast range of primary sources - from the master chronicles of Ibn al-Athir and Ibn Khadun to biographical dictionaries, geographical works, legal treatises and poetry - and modern scholarship not available in English. He charts the shift from Sicily as 'warrior outpost' to vital and productive hub that would transform the medieval Islamic world, and indeed the entire Mediterranean.


Thursday, March 26, 2020, from 5:30 to 7:30PM
At the Tunisia Office of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University