Hybrid Lecture - Book Talk: The Wolf King, Abigail Balbale - March 30

Alex Dika Seggerman's picture

Book Talk: The Wolf King: Reflections on Religion and Power in al-Andalus

Abigail Balbale
New York University
March 30 @ 2:30-4:00pm
Rutgers University-Newark
110 Warren Street, Room 312
and on zoom
Ibn Mardanīsh, known as "the Wolf King" by his Christian interlocutors, ruled eastern al-Andalus for the third quarter of the twelfth century. Al-Andalus is often depicted as a site of particular religious tolerance, and this period as its denouement, with foreign interlopers locked in holy war. Ibn Mardanīsh's story complicates narratives of religious enmity and of al-Andalus' distinct culture -- he was vassal to Christian kings, fought his coreligionists the Almohads, and minted coins in the name of the distant Abbasid caliph. This talk, based on the recently published book The Wolf King: Ibn Mardanīsh and the Construction of Power in al-Andalus (Cornell UP, 2022)explores Ibn Mardanīsh's brief rule, using chronicles, chancery documents, material culture and architecture as evidence. It then considers how the memory of this ruler, and of al-Andalus more generally, have been distorted in the time since his death, in the political context of Western European ascendancy over North Africa and much of the Islamic world. It argues that the historical treatment of al-Andalus as exceptional reinforces racial and religious hierarchies that privilege the European, the Christian, or the secular over others. 
Abigail Krasner Balbale is Assistant Professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies and History and New York University, where she is also an affiliate of the Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies, and serves on the coordinating committees of the Medieval and Renaissance Center and el taller@KJCC. Follow her on Twitter @abigail_balbale.
Register for the zoom webinar here: 
Supported by the Office of the Chancellor, the Department of Arts, Culture and Media, the Department of History, and the Middle East and Islamic Studies Minor