Brian Catlos wins Webb-Smith Essay Competition, named Associate at UCLA

March 01, 2012

Brian A. Catlos, Associate Professor of History, UCSC

Associate Professor of History Brian A. Catlos was named as one of two winners of the 47th Annual Walter Prescott Webb Essay Competition at the University of Texas-Arlington. 

The topic for 2011-2012 was “Muslims, Christians, and Jews in the Medieval Mediterranean” and papers were to explore relations between the three major cultures in the medieval Mediterranean, or the movements of people, goods, or ideas within or across the region.  Questions were encouraged to address, but were not limited to: cultural or technological transfers, trade and its social or political implications, warfare, conquest, migration, and theories of Mediterranean unity/disunity or inter-cultural relations.  

Prof. Catlos's winning essay, “Accursed, Superior Men: Ethno-religious Minorities and Politics in the Medieval Mediterranean” takes three cases (a Jewish ruler of Muslim Granada, a crypto-Muslim admiral in Norman Sicily, and a Christian finance minister in Fatimid Egypt) to explore the relationship of ethnic identity and religion in the Medieval Mediterranean and the environment of “conveniencia" that characterized the region. 

The award will be given in the course of a one-day symposium held on 8 March 2012, at the University of Texas-Arlington, featuring: Paul M. Cobb, Travis Bruce, and Robin Vose. The winning essays will be published in a forthcoming volume of the Walter Prescott Webb Memorial Lecture Series, published by Texas A&M Press, along with essays by the lecturers.

Catlos was also recently named as an Associate of the UCLA Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, together with Sharon Kinoshita, Professor of Literature, UC Santa Cruz. Catlos and Kinoshita, co-directors of the The Mediterranean Seminar/UC Multicampus Research Project, have collaborated with the CMRS on various projects over the last three years, and look forward to continuing and deepening this collaboration, and between CMRS and the UCSC Division of Humanities.