‘Movement & Mobility in the Medieval Mediterranean (6th–15th centuries)’

Barcelona, Institut d’Estudis Catalans

8–11 July, 2019


The sixth biennial conference of the Society for the Medieval Mediterranean (SMM) will take place in Barcelona, at the Institut d’Estudis Catalans (IEC), from Monday 8 July (afternoon) to Thursday 11 July 2019 (morning). An optional excursion for attendees and accompanying persons will be available on Friday 12 July.

The conference will be dedicated to the memory of the former President of the Society, Professor Simon Barton. On Thursday 11 July, an event will be held in honour of him.




The medieval Mediterranean was not a static maritime space. In recent years, studies have focused on Mediterranean dynamics, connections, encounters and entanglements. What approaches do researches from History, Literature, Archaeology, Philology and other disciplines adopt to better understand the complexity of the medieval Mediterranean? How and to what extent did multiple agents, phenomena and factors interact to shape and intertwine the multidimensional spheres of the Mediterranean? We welcome papers from all disciplines that study movement and mobility from different perspectives in and across the medieval Mediterranean and its extensions, both physical and imagined. This theme invites a variety of lines of inquiry, a number of which are suggested below.

Topics of the conference could include, but are by no means limited to:

  • Multicultural contacts, transculturation and assimilation in the medieval

  • Medieval Mediterranean crossings

  • Circulation of political, religious and cultural ideas

  • Circulation of people and commodities

  • Major and minor, forced and voluntary migrations

  • Pilgrimage and religious mobility

  • Diplomacy and its agents

  • Commerce and its agents

  • Military expeditions and coastal defence

  • Naval technology and navigation

  • Medieval Mediterranean geostrategy

  • Geographical explorations

  • Links between the Mediterranean and connected seas (Atlantic, Black Sea, Red Sea)

Participants are encouraged to submit proposals for panels of 3 papers. The panel proposer should collate the three 300-400 word abstracts (including titles, presenters’ names, affiliations, short CVs or most important publications and keywords) and submit them together, indicating clearly the rationale behind the planned panel.

We also invite 300‐400 word abstracts for 20‐minute individual papers (including title, name, affiliation, short CV or most important publications and keywords) relating to the conference theme. Nevertheless, panel proposals will be given priority over individual papers.

Poster proposals (title and short description up to 200 words, including name, affiliation, short CV or most important publications and keywords as well) are also welcome.

(EXTENDED) Submission deadline: Abstracts for panels, individual papers and posters should be emailed to smm.bcn.2019@imf.csic.es by January 31 2019. Applicants will be notified regarding the acceptance of their panel, paper or poster by the end of February 2019.

Language: Papers will be delivered in English. However, panel chairs will be allowed to accept discussions in any other language, while guaranteeing, if needed, translation into English.


The keynote lectures will be delivered by:

Professor Petra M. Sijpesteijn (University of Leiden) Global Networks: Mobility and Exchange in the Mediterranean (600-1000) Monday 8th July 2019

The establishment of the Muslim Empire in the mid-seventh century C.E. on the south-eastern shores of the Mediterranean was long considered to have precipitated a break in trans-Mediterranean contacts, with western Europe, the Levant and North Africa each going their separate ways. Archaeological and historical research has shown that movement between the European and African/Levantine litorals did continue to take place for commercial, political (diplomatic and military), religious and scientific reasons. Nevertheless, there are clear ups and downs observable in the intensity and frequency of contacts due to developments in the Mediterranean itself, but also far beyond in Northern Europe, Arabia, Persia and even South Asia. This paper will examine movements across the Mediterranean in the centuries just before and following the establishment of the Muslim Empire. I will present evidence for material and intellectual exchange and examine how connectivity intensified and diminished in relation to political developments in the region and beyond. The focus will be on the south-east “upwards,” looking at the Sasanian, Byzantine and Islamic Empires and their interaction with the northern and western parts of the Mediterranean, using material evidence and globalisation theories. The Iberian Peninsula and Southern Italy, which were for a period also part of the Islamic Empire, will also be brought into the discussion as representing a unique and important instance of trans-regional integration. By doing so it will become clear that trajectories of mobility in the early Islamic Mediterranean are not determined by religious-political fault lines, but continue long-established patterns of trade, migration and cultural exchange.

Professor Amy Remensnyder (Brown University), The Restless Mediterranean, Medieval and Modern Wednesday 10th July 2019


Early Bird Registration: February 15 – April 15 2019: €150

Regular Registration: April 16 – June 8 2019: €180

Accepted speakers will have until March 31 2019 to register. After that date, others will be offered their places and will be required to register before April 30 2019.

Registration fee will include: coffee breaks and lunches; reception at the conference venue on Monday 8th July; hotel reduced prices; 3 days (72 hours) Barcelona public transport ticket; free entrance to main Barcelona historical museums & exhibitions

Optional activities (for attendees and accompanying persons):

Visit to the former royal palace and royal chapel of Santa Àgata (with temporary exhibition on Medieval Barcelona at the Saló del Tinell) and to the temporary exhibition on 700 years of the Archives of the Crown of Aragon (Palau del Lloctinent), with catering dinner and wine (Wednesday 9 July)

Farewell dinner in the gardens of the former shipyards of Barcelona, hosting the Museu Marítim de Barcelona, with an optional visit to the museum and its new current exhibition on shipyards and galleys, served by Norai restaurant (Thursday 10 July)

Full day excursion to medieval Girona, Sant Pere de Rodes medieval monastery, fishing and touristic village of El Port de la Selva (Friday 12 July, all day)


Postgraduate student bursaries:

The SMM will offer up to 15 bursaries for PhD students who wish to present their research at the conference. The bursaries will cover the costs of both registration fees and the conference dinner.

The Sociedad Española de Estudios Medievales (SEEM) offers two bursaries of 150 € to help cover registration fees to their associates who are under the age of 30 (for more information, please contact secretaria@medievalistas.es).

Bursary Application form


Dr. Roser Salicrú i Lluch (IMF‐CSIC & IEC)

Dr. Ivan Armenteros Martínez (IMF‐CSIC)

Victòria A. Burguera Puigserver (IMF‐CSIC & UIB)

Pol Junyent Molins (IMF‐CSIC)

Marta Manso Rubio (IMF‐CSIC & UB)

Dr. Alessandro Rizzo (IMF‐CSIC & ULiege).




The first draft programme will be available in March 2019


Specific questions can be directed to: smm.bcn.2019@imf.csic.es

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