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Grant number like: FA-56027-11

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Kathryn A. Miller
Stanford University (Stanford, CA 94305-2004)

Fellowships for University Teachers
Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2011 – 5/31/2012

Business with Infidels: Christian-Muslim Exchanges of Captives across the Mediterranean

The study of cross-cultural exchange is evolving into an interdisciplinary field that is attracting considerable scholarly attention. The redemption of captives in the medieval Mediterranean constitutes an extreme case of exchange, insofar as it handles human wares that obviously speak of discord and conflict. Through its lenses, I will examine the instruments of exchange, the forms of communication, and the mechanisms of collaboration between Christians and Muslims who worked as fakkak or alfaqueques (ransom exchange agents) who should have had, on political and religious grounds, only the means to distrust one another. "Business with Infidels" aims to contribute to a growing historiography on Mediterranean cross-cultural relations, on long-distance trade, on networks, and on how trustworthy partnerships can be forged across religious groups in the absence of formal international courts of law.