History of the Society

The Society was founded in 1997 by Dionisius Agius and from its inception incorporated scholars and individuals from a variety of disciplines who shared a mutual interest in the Medieval Mediterranean. Since that time, the development and continued growth of the Society is testament to both the efforts of Professor Agius and more recently to the current Committee, as well as the growing interest in the subject of the influence of Islamic culture on the medieval Mediterranean.

The journal Al-Masāq, published by Taylor and Francis, was founded in 1988 and subsequently became the principal output of the Society. Initially it was published twice yearly, with an increase to three annual publications in 2009. Most recently, thanks to the efforts of the former general editor Jo Van Steenbergen it was listed in the Thomson Reuters Arts & Humanities Citation Index. The flourishing membership and the expertise of the expanding editorial board of Al-Masāq are testimony to the society’s gathering momentum. This interdisciplinary approach has been at the heart of the society’s determination to discuss the Medieval Mediterranean within a historical context: encouraging the pursuit of high quality independent and collaborative scholarship within a defined common cultural framework.

Building upon this success, the inaugural biennial conference of the Society took place at the University of Exeter in July 2009, attracting an international delegation over three days. Since then further conferences have been held at the University of Southampton in July 2011, at the University of Cambridge in July 2013, at the University of Lincoln in July 2015, and at the University of Ghent in July 2017. The sixth conference of the Society will take place in Barcelona in July 2019.