Sensoria in the Islamic and Christian Western Mediterranean

Camilo Gomez-Rivas
History, Literature
UC Santa Cruz

This two-day conference will explore the relationship between the Iberian Peninsula and North Africa during the medieval, early modern, and modern eras through the media of human sensoria, with particular attention devoted to auditory and gustatory perception (including soundscapes and foodways), and the role of the senses in religious and mystical experiences. This conference will deepen our understanding of this complex region by bringing to bear the work of historians, anthropologists, scholars of literature, ethnomusicologists, and others, to better elucidate patterns of cultural history. Through this multi-disciplinary approach, the conference will develop a rich picture of the sensory world of this religiously, ethnically, and politically diverse region. In particular, employing foodways and culinary traditions (including dietary laws) as well as soundscapes (such as the transformation of an urban soundscape when a city passed from Islamic to Christian rule) will bring new and important perspectives to our understanding of the ways in which identity was constructed and articulated in the Iberia-Maghrib zone and to the variety of ways in which boundaries could be prescribed or transgressed in countless quotidian settings.