Conferences and debates

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New event series: "Islamization Debated"

From October 05, 2021 until May 31, 20227:00 p.m.
CORDOBA
Casa Árabe Auditorium (at Calle Samuel de los Santos Gener, 9). 7:00 p.m. Check each conference's entry conditions.
In Spanish.

Casa Árabe is hosting a series of conferences intended to spur debate and a re-examination of the complex process which the Spanish Visigothic population underwent in Al-Andalus. The event series will be held from October 2021 through May 2022.

The archeological research on the process of the Spanish Visigothic population’s transformation and integration into the Islamic social structure has seen significant advancements over the last few decades. This interesting phenomenon is known as “Islamization.” It consisted of a complex process, because it required profound change in the social, political, economic and ideological foundations of a very heterogeneous population across a widespread territory that had evolved with substantial differences during the latest decades of Visigothic rule.

There is no consensus among the scientific community on  the ways in which these transformations took place or at what pace. Quite the contrary: there are many points of view and approaches to this phenomenon, as we can see in a wide range of subjects and fields. Though this topic is unquestionably interesting, no review or re-examination of the concept of “Islamization” has yet been performed, nor has an assessment of the existing archeological information on the early Islamic presence in Al-Andalus.

As a result, we have proposed this event series aimed at contributing to knowledge on this subject matter and the historical and archeological interpretation of Al-Andalus, which will also spur scientific discussion among leading domestic and foreign specialists on this topic. During each session, two specialists will present their differing approaches to and interpretations of a specific topic, thus contributing their knowledge about Islamization so as to further current studies on the history and archeology of Al-Andalus. There will then be a debate, followed by questions from the audience. This will encourage participation and interaction by those attending, a group whose audience we hope will include professionals and students of the discipline, in addition to our regular audiences. This approach fits in perfectly with Casa Árabe’s calling to act as a forum that promotes the showing and sharing of knowledge and experience involving the Islamic world of Al-Andalus.

The event series is being coordinated by Professors María ElenaSalinas (University of Almería), Carmen González (Universityof Cordoba) and María Teresa Casal (University of Cordoba).

María Elena Salinas Pleguezuelo
An archeologist and researcher, Professor Salinas specializes in the archeology of Al-Andalus, and in recent years her research has focused on studying the technology of glazed ceramics in the medieval Mediterranean world. She earned her PhD in Archeology at the University of Cordoba and worked on the GMU-UCO Agreement. She has completed stays abroad, including most notably one at the Research Laboratory for Archeology and the History of Art at Oxford University, where she was trained in Archeometry, and a post-doctoral fellowship in the Marie Curie European program given by the Department of Physics at the Universidad Politécnica de Cataluña. She is currently an assistant professor of Medieval History at the University of Almería.

Carmen González Gutiérrez
Ms. González Gutiérrez earned a PhD for her doctoral thesis on “The Mosques of Islamic Cordoba: Concept, types and urban function,” which she defended in 2016. Since then, she has continued to explore and expand this line of research by approaching the mosques of of Al-Andalus from various perspectives, including comparative analyses between East and West, gender perspectives, etc. Her work is taking shape in many scientific publications covering these topics, something also made possible by several research stays and contracts at international institutions, such as the Université Lumière Lyon II (France), the Technical University of Berlin (Germany), the University of Bamberg (Germany), The Cyprus Institute (Cyprus) and the University of Erfurt (Germany). She is currently carrying out her research activity at the University of Cordoba’s Archeology Department, and also within the framework of the research project “Religion and Urbanity” of the Max-Weber-Kolleg at the University of Erfurt (Germany).

María Teresa Casal García has a PhD in Heritage and Archeology from the University of Cordoba. She is accredited by the ANECA as an associate professor and is a specialist in the Archeology and Medieval History of Al-Andalus. She has a great deal of experience in research, teaching and managing archeological excavations, all backed by her years of work on the agreement between the Municipal Urban Planning Management Department and the University of Cordoba. She later continued her work at the Spanish National Research Council’s Institute of History-CCHS (CSIC, Madrid). She has completed several research stays abroad and has authored over thirty specialized publications with a great impact in the field. She has been part of and currently belongs to several domestic and foreign research groups and projects. She has been invited to speak at different Spanish and foreign universities and institutions, thus presenting her research during congresses, seminars and Master’s degree programs on medieval history and archeology, including:  Oxford and Leeds (UK); Hamburg (Germany); Lyon and Paris Sorbonne (France) and Shanghai (China).


All of the conferences, if they can be held in person, will take place at Casa Árabe’s headquarters in Cordoba at 7:00 p.m. You can also watch the presentations on our YouTube channel as of one week after each event. Given the current health situation, the upcoming conferences and dates are subject to change.
New event series: "Islamization Debated"
  • Islamization in Studies on Al-Andalus

    Islamization in Studies on Al-Andalus

    October 05, 20217:00 p.m.
    CORDOBA
    Casa Árabe Auditorium (at Calle Samuel de los Santos Gener, 9). 7:00 p.m. Free entry until the event’s capacity is reached. The decision on whether to hold these activities in person will depend upon the health situation at the time, and mask use will be required.
    In Spanish.
    This is the first debate in the event series organized by Casa Árabe on the Islamization of the Spanish Visigothic population during the early years of the Islamic presence on the Iberian Peninsula. It will be held on October 5 at our headquarters in Cordoba. 
    This session will pay tribute to a whole generation of researchers, amongst whom we would highlight Manuel Acién and Pierre Guichard, two of the early pioneers in the study of Al-Andalus. Their contributions to the historical study of Al-Andalus were essential and led to wide-ranging, groundbreaking research that has gone above and beyond the established paradigms. 

    At this session, we will get the chance to hear from two experts leading some of the main research projects on the transformations that Spanish Visigothic society underwent when the Muslims arrived. This makes it indispensable to ascertain how the concept of “Islamization” came about and what we understand by it now, analyzing how research on Andalusian society has evolved in recent years.

    Participants: Vicente Salvatierra Cuenca and Sonia Gutiérrez Lloret. Moderated by: Alberto León Muñoz.

    Vicente Salvatierra Cuenca has been a professor of Medieval History at the University of Jaén since 2009. He created a research group there on medieval archeology, which focused on the archeology of Al-Andalus. He excavated inside both urban buildings (El Maristán de Granada, the Arab baths of El Naranjo) and rural settlements (Cerro Miguelico, Cerro de Peñaflor). After a shift in the archeological policy of the Autonomous Regional Government of Andalusia in 1992, and the development of the archeology of architecture, he focused on cooperating with municipal governments to recover important buildings, from Moorish fortresses transformed by the Castilians (Segura de la Sierra, Beas de Segura) and castles turned into palaces (Villardompardo), to palaces such as that of Villalvo Nicuesa (Jaén) and the Casa Grande (Los Villares). In 1994, he founded the journal “Arqueología y Territorio Medieval,” which he co-directs with Irene Montilla Torres, a publication now indexed in SCOPUS, FECYT and other platforms.

    Sonia Gutiérrez Lloret has been a professor of Archeology at the University of Alicante since 2003, within the Department of Prehistory, Archeology, Ancient History, Greek Philology and Latin Philology. She is also the director of the University Institute for Research on Archeology and Historical Heritage-INAPH and headed the Scientific Council of the La Alcudia University Foundation for Archeological Research at the University of Alicante from 2014 to 2019. The director of the Archeology and Heritage Research Group (UA), she also coordinated the official Master’s degree program in Professional Archeology and Integral Heritage Management from 2007 to 2011, one of the first in Spain, in addition to holding other positions in research evaluation and management at the most important national evaluation agencies (CNEAI, ANEP, ANECA). She is an expert in medieval and post-medieval archeology with a special interest in the transition from late antiquity to the early Middle Ages and, in particular, the study of Al-Andalus and the debate over memory and public uses of history and material heritage. She has directed several research and knowledge transfer projects, including those of the Tolmo de Minateda Archeology Park (Albacete), the Domus-La Alcudia and El Castellar project (Elx) and El Moncayo (Guardamar).

    Alberto León Muñoz
    A tenured professor of Archeology with the University of Cordoba’s Department of Art History, Archeology and Music since 2011, he has focused his research on late-ancient and medieval archeology, the archeology of architecture, Islamic archeology, Al-Andalus urbanism, medieval fortifications and urban archeology. From 2001 to 2008, he formed part of a research team created within the framework of the Cooperation Agreement between the Municipal Urban Planning Management Department and the University of Cordoba, directing several archeological digs, including the intervention in the Women’s Courtyard at the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos, the walled enclosure of the Calahorra, and the borough of Sequnda. A member of the “Sísifo” Research Group (HUM-236) under Andalusia’s Research Plan, he has participated as a researcher in numerous projects funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Technology, and the Spanish National Research, Development and Innovation Plan, including the following highlighted projects: the “Evolution of the historic city of Cordoba, the funerary world, medieval architecture and urbanism” and “Development and Innovation oriented towards the Challenges of Society for the digitalization of the documentary legacy of Catalan architect Felix Hernandez Jimenez.” He is currently co-directing the project “From Iulius Caesar to the Catholic Monarchs: An archeological analysis of 1500 years of history at Cordoba’s Mosque-Cathedral and its surrounding urban environment,” within the framework of the State Programs for Producing Knowledge and Scientific and Technological Strengthening of the Research, Development and Innovation System (Year 2020 call for entries), and he is directing the Focused Archeological Activity in the Cordoba Mosque-Cathedral’s Patio de los Naranjos (since September 2020). He has carried out research stays at the universities of La Sorbonne (Paris IV), Lyon II, Padua, Siena and Cologne, and he is a member of the scientific boards at several specialized journals: "Spal""Post Classical Archaeologies"; "Revista Onoba"; "Cuadernos de Arquitectura y Fortificación" (since 2014); "Revista Castillos de España" (since 2018) and the "Journal of Material Cultures in the Muslim World" (since 2019); as well as others.
  • The role of fortifications in the process of Islamization: North/South

    The role of fortifications in the process of Islamization: North/South

    November 02, 20217:00 p.m.
    CORDOBA
    Casa Árabe Auditorium (at Calle Samuel de los Santos Gener, 9) 7:00 p.m. Free entry until the event’s capacity is reached. Mask use is required during the entire event and throughout all our facilities.
    In Spanish.
    Another new session in the “Islamization Debated” series organized by Casa Árabe in Cordoba. On this occasion, the experts who are joining us will be discussing the role played by fortifications, in this process which the Visigothic population underwent in Al-Andalus. It will be held on November 3 at our Andalusian headquarters.
    In the process to put in place the Islamic social and political model in Al-Andalus, fortifications, and particularly those promoted by the Umayyad authorities, played an essential role. Many of these fortresses were built using materials and building procedures with shared features, indicating how much they were linked to power in Cordoba. These included the use of ashlars, initially reused from previously existing buildings and also gradually extracted from quarries. The layout of these fortifications seems to have been focused initially on two rather well-defined areas: on the one hand, the middle and Western parts of the Iberian Peninsula, and on the other, around the Ebro Valley, where a certain very unique and endemic architectural style has been detected. A comparison of these two areas is an interesting exercise in determining the role played by these fortifications in the process to Islamize the lands of Al-Andalus. And this means determining their timeline, architectural influences, the ties between their promoters and Cordoba’s authorities, and more. 

    Speakers: Jesús Brufal Sucarrat and Pedro Guarriarán Daza. Moderated by: Alberto León Muñoz. 

    Jesús Brufal Sucarrat 
    A Serra Hunter Fellow Lecturing Professor at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. His main line of research is the “History and Archeology of Al-Andalus: Architecture, Landscape and Identity (eighth-twelfth centuries)” and revolves around three main themes: “Dry land spaces in the district of Lleida,” “Identity and power at the Upper Border of Al-Andalus” and “The transition between Late Antiquity and the High Middle Ages in the Ebro River valley (sixth-tenth centuries)”. He coordinates the Medieval History Dept. at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and is co-director of the Centre d’Estudis en Patrimoni Arqueològic at that same university. He is the director of the archeological digs in the Santa Coloma d’Àger necropolis and at the Castell d’Algerri. 

    Pedro Guarriarán Daza 
    An architect with a degree from the University of Seville’s School of Architecture, with a specialization in Urbanism (2001), he is currently a PhD student at the University of Seville’s School of Architecture, with a doctoral thesis titled “Construction and power at the southern border of Al-Andalus during the Cordoba Caliphate” (2015). His professional work has focused on the practice of heritage restoration since 2002. He is a founding partner of the company Yamur, Arquitectura y Arqueología S.L. in Malaga (2002). Founding partner of the company Arhitektura i Arheologija d.o.o. in Dubrovnik, Croatia (2009). Numerary board member of the Institute of Studies on the Campo de Gibraltar Area, Section 1 (Geography and History). Member of the editorial board of the journal Arqueología de la Arquitectura, published by the CSIC Institute of History and the University of the Basque Country, since January 2014. Member of the Technical Committee of the Monumental Complex of the Alcazaba of Almería, since February 2013. 

    Alberto León Muñoz 
    A professor of Archeology in the University of Cordoba’s Department of Art History, Archeology and Music since 2011, his research focuses on late ancient and medieval archeology, the archeology of architecture and Islamic urbanism in Al-Andalus. He has been part of a research team working within the framework of the Cooperation Agreement between the city’s Urban Planning Management Department and the University of Cordoba, directing archeological excavations which include the Women’s Courtyard at the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos, the walled enclosure of the Calahorra or the Arrabal de Sequnda. A member of the “Sísifo” 
    Research Group at the UCO, he has participated as a researcher in many projects funded by Spain’s Ministry of Science and Technology, within the Spanish National Research, Development and Innovation Plan, including the following: the “Evolution of the historic city of Cordoba, the funerary world, medieval architecture and urbanism” and “Development and Innovation oriented towards the Challenges of Society for digitalization of the documentary legacy of Catalan architect Felix Hernández Jiménez.” He is currently co-directing the project “From Iulius Caesar to the Catholic Monarchs: An archeological analysis of 1500 years of history at Cordoba’s Mosque-Cathedral and its surrounding urban environment,” within the framework of the State Programs for Producing Knowledge and Scientific and Technological Strengthening of the Research, Development and Innovation System (Year 2020 call for entries), and he is directing the Focused Archeological Activity in the Cordoba Mosque-Cathedral’s Patio de los Naranjos (since September 2020). He has carried out research stays at the universities of La Sorbonne (Paris IV), Lyon II, Padua, Siena and Cologne, and he is a member of the Scientific Boards at several specialized journals, including: SpalPost Classical ArchaeologiesRevista OnobaCuadernos de Arquitectura y FortificaciónRevista Castillos de España y del Journal of Material Cultures in the Muslim World, as well as others.
  • Visigoths and Umayyads: Monetary (dis)agreement 

    Visigoths and Umayyads: Monetary (dis)agreement 

    November 23, 20217:00 p.m.
    CORDOBA
    Casa Árabe Auditorium (at Calle Samuel de los Santos Gener, 9) 7:00 p.m. Free entry until the event’s capacity is reached. Mask use is required during the entire event and throughout all our facilities.
    In Spanish.
    On Tuesday, September 23, we broadcast deferred the last session of the the event series “Islamization Debated” organized by Casa Árabe in Cordoba. On this occasion, Fátima Martín Escudero and Ruth Pliego Vázquez discussed the role of currency and how it conditioned social relations in that era.  
    The role of currency in different societies helps determine the way people relate with each other. In a society with taxation like that established in Al-Andalus, it played a major role from the very outset, as a means of exchange. New Al-Andalus coins issued as of the eighth century coexisted with others still in use that had formed part of the prior Visigothic and Roman monetary systems. Each of these systems had its own particular features and entailed specific problems. 
      
    Currency also played a basic role as an element of prestige and propaganda for the ruling power. On their faces, messages were written to legitimize and spread the monarchs’ power and ideology. Along with these coins, another indisputable form of material evidence from the period of conquest are the lead seals or “conquest seals” of the day. These pieces with Arabic inscriptions are actual official documents, and their inscriptions were used to validate the legal status of whatever was sealed with them.  

    Making use of numismatic study in an archeological context makes it an essential way to approach certain aspects related with the circulation of coins, areas of influence and the dating of coins issued without an explicit date. Their heterogeneous spatial distribution across the Iberian Peninsula throughout the seventh, eighth and ninth centuries demonstrates the monetary diversity of the era, in what constituted an instrument for Arabization of great ideological importance. During this latest debate session on the different monetary systems set up on the Iberian Peninsula from the seventh to ninth centuries and their confrontation, we will be accompanied by Fátima Martín Escudero and Ruth Pliego Vázquez. 

    Fátima Martín Escudero holds a degree in Prehistory and Archeology from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (1998), and she earned her PhD in 2007, with a thesis titled “Numismatics of Al-Andalus: Genesis and development of a discipline (eighteenth and nineteenth centuries).” She is currently an associate professor with the School of Documentation Sciences at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, where she has been teaching since 2005. She was formerly a researcher at the Royal Academy of History (1999-2004), where she carried out the study and cataloguing of its Visigothic, Moorish and Eastern Arab currency collections, as well as the archival documentation relating to the “Gabinete Numario.” The main researcher in the research, development and innovation project “Fulus and seals as sources for understanding the process of conquest, Arabization and Islamization in Al-Andalus (eighth to ninth centuries BCE)” (PID2019-105189GB-I00), she has had six books published, including: El tesoro de Baena. Reflexiones sobre circulación monetaria en época omeya (The Baena Treasure: Reflection on the circulation of currency in the Umayyad era, Madrid, 2005); Las monedas de al-Ándalus. De actividad ilustrada a disciplina científica (The Coins of Al-Andalus: From enlightened activity to scientific discipline, Madrid, 2011); and Monedas Andalusíes. Catálogo del Gabinete de Antigüedades de la Real Academia de la Historia (Moorish Coins: Catalogue of the Royal Academy of History’s Cabinet of Antiquities, Madrid, 2000); eight book chapters, and over 30 articles. She has also given many conferences and presented many reports at foreign and domestic conferences. 

    Ruth Pliego Vázquez holds a PhD from the University of Seville and forms part of the Department of Prehistory and Archeology research group. Her area of research focuses on numismatics in the broadest sense, dealing with economic, cultural and political factors. She has had an extensive, thorough corpus of work published under the title La moneda visigoda (The Visigothic Coin: 2 vols., Seville, 2009) and many articles related with this subject. She has taught at the Paris Institute for Advanced Studies (Paris IAS), the École Pratique des Hautes Études, the University of Padua and Princeton University. She has also participated in research projects at the National Library of France, the School of Higher Hispanic and Iberian Studies, and the Universities of Seville and Malaga, as well as others. For several years, Ruth has worked at the Andalusian Institute of Historical Heritage (Seville), and she is currently taking part in the “Treasure of Tomares” project at the Archeological Museum of Seville.
  • Islamization in funeral practices 

    Islamization in funeral practices 

    December 09, 20217:00 p.m.
    ONLINE
    Casa Árabe's YouTube channel. 7:00 p.m.
    In Spanish.
    On Thursday 9 December we are offering the fifth conference of the series "Islamisation under debate" on our Youtube channel. It is given by the archaeologists Alfonso Vigil-Escalera and Mercedes Navarro.
    Medieval societies were characterized by their ethnic and religious diversity. The rapid spread of Islam on the Iberian Peninsula meant the transformation of Christian Visigothic Hispania into Al-Andalus, a territory in which one dominant religion, that of the Muslims, would take over. The adoption of new Muslim funerary practices, significantly different from the prior Christian era, mark a clear indicator of the process of religious Islamization among the various populations.

    Archeological research on eighth to tenth-century funerary rituals and necropolises has demonstrated the presence of Islamized foreign populations and the early conversion of native groups. In certain cemeteries, one can find a coexistence or succession of Christian and Muslim rites in the same funerary space, illustrating a process of early conversion in one single town or village. It is precisely at this time when numerous cemeteries were also created for the burials of the growing Muslim population. The forms of these necropolises and the burials that took place in them, coupled with the use of new analysis methodologies in research, allow us to recognize the peculiarities in the populations and rituals among different territories within the overall whole. At this latest debate session, we will be taking a look at two areas in Al-Andalus, on the one hand the central part of the Iberian Peninsula, in a talk given by Alfonso Vigil-Escalera, and an area in the southern part of the peninsula, with Mercedes Navarro. Moderated by: María Teresa Casal.

    Alfonso Vigil-Escalera Guirado is an independent archeologist. Having earned his bachelor’s degree in 1987 (UAM) and a PhD from the UPV/EHU (2009), he is a specialist on the material culture of the early medieval peasantry. He has spent his career in private enterprise (1990-2010) and as a researcher and lecturer at the Universities of the Basque Country and Salamanca (2010-2020). His publications include significant innovations on ceramic production, domestic architecture, funerary practices, settlement patterns, productive strategies and the social structure of rural communities of the past.

    Mercedes Navarro Pérez has a bachelor’s degree in Humanities. She received her Master’s degree in Tourism, Archeology and Nature, and a PhD from the University of Jaén. She is a member of the Archeological Heritage of Jaén Research Group at the University of Jaén, and of the Network of Experts of the Campus of International Excellence, in the field of Cultural and Natural Heritage Projects. She was an archeologist working on urban excavations, both as a freelancer and as a founding member of the company ARQ13, until 2009. Since then, she has been working with the Medieval History Department at the University of Jaén, collaborating with domestic and foreign research, development and innovation projects, as well as in technical consultancy and research contracts. All of this can be seen in numerous publications and exhibition projects designed to disseminate the results of the activities she has carried out.

    The conference took place on Tuesday 30 November at Casa Árabe's headquarters in Cordoba. 
  • Water resources and hydraulic systems for land development and management

    Water resources and hydraulic systems for land development and management

    February 22, 20227:00 p.m.
    CÓRDOBA
    Casa Árabe Auditorium (at Calle Samuel de los Santos y Gener, 9). 7:00 p.m. Free entrance until the event’s capacity is reached.
    Mask use is required during the entire event and throughout all our facilities.
    In Spanish.
    The seventh session in our series “Islamization Debated” will be given by Professors José María Martín Civantos and Ferrán Esquilache. It is taking place in Cordoba on Tuesday, February 15. 
    The process of Islamization in Al-Andalus territory led to a profound transformation of the natural landscape and rural environment to adapt them to new economic and social uses and exploitation. The advent of new production processes, the adoption and generalization of extensive irrigation techniques, the introduction of new crops, and the spread of new forms of farming, along with other events, caused notable differences in the landscape and society when compared with previous stages of history, thus deeply and permanently transforming the rural world. Among all of the changes that took place in this respect, intensive irrigation farming was one of the basic economic foundations of political and social development in Al-Andalus. Along with changes made to the rural landscape, this also led to changes and innovations between work in the countryside and means of production, in the relationship between the State and the peasant communities, in the organization of those communities, in land ownership and management, in the taxation system, and many other arenas.

    During this session, water, water resources and the archeological study of these phenomena will act as the main thread tying together concepts in order to reflect on these issues, as we attempt to gain a more in-depth understanding of how the process of Islamization was carried out on the landscape and in society. Moderated by Carmen González, from the University of Córdoba.

    José María Martín Civantos is a full professor with the University of Granada’s Department of Medieval History. His main lines of research are related to historical landscapes, medieval construction techniques and new technologies used in Archeology. He has spent his academic career mainly in Spain and Italy, leading a strong collaborative network of experts from a wide variety of fields (environmental sciences, agronomy, botany, hydrology, hydro-geology, geography, and many more), which has led him to expand upon theoretical and methodological approaches in the study of historical landscape analysis, medieval construction techniques as they relate to spatial organization, and the application of new technologies to archeology. Proof of all the above is his great acknowledgment in the scientific community, as can be seen in a large number of very important, high-impact publications, as well as his innovative and notably multidisciplinary research projects. Among these, it is worth mentioning the project “From Acci to Guadix: Reinterpreting the history of a heritage city,” of which he is the director; and the European project MEMOLA (MEditerranean MOuntainous LAndscapes: A historical approach to cultural heritage based on traditional agricultural systems), of which he is the coordinator, as well as being the director of the MEMOLab-Laboratory of Biocultural Archeology.

    Ferrán Esquilache earned his PhD in History from the University of Valencia (2016). After that, he became an associate professor of Medieval History at the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona and the Jaume I University in Castelló, as well as a post-doctoral researcher at the latter since 2019. His primary research interest has always been studying medieval societies through the agricultural landscapes they created, and more specifically what they did with irrigated spaces. It is in this sense that the main focus of his dissertation became the initial stages in the construction of Valencia’s “Huerta” and the evolution of Andalusian society through these spaces. He also later grew interested in the transformations carried out by Christians in the farmed areas originating from Al-Andalus after the feudal conquests. His most notable publications include the book Els constructors de l’Horta de València (The Builders of Valencia’s ‘Horta,’ Publicacions de la Universitat de València, 2018).
  • Forms of architectural expressions in early Al-Andalus:influences, transfers and perdurance between East and West”

    Forms of architectural expressions in early Al-Andalus:influences, transfers and perdurance between East and West”

    March 01, 20227:00 p.m.
    CÓRDOBA
    Casa Árabe Auditorium (at Calle Samuel de los Santos y Gener, 9). 7:00 p.m. Free entry until the room’s capacity is reached.
    In Spanish.
    On Tuesday, March 1, the eighth session in the series “Islamization Debated” will be given by Professors Alexandra Uscatescu and Carmen González in Cordoba. The round table will be moderated by María Teresa Casal.
    At this new session we will be addressing a topic directly related with the architecture of Islam’s earliest centuries through a comparative study of the process to establish Islam in the eastern Umayyad territory (Bilad al-Sham) during the seventh century and the western Umayyad territory (Al-Andalus) in the eighth century, focusing on an architectural analysis of buildings, architectural complexesand still preserved archeological remains.

    There will be debate over the problems that both regions share in defining and describing the process of Islamization and Arabization as territories within the Mediterranean space, with a common historical background and in constant communication, also analyzing the potential influences and transfers of architectural models between East and West. In contrast, there are also issues specific to Bilad al-Sham (East) and Al-Andalus (West) linked to the likely local perdurances in both regions.

    In the case of Al-Andalus, the earliest mosques will be examined as foreign and/or Middle Eastern architectural features, describing the process through which they were put in place in Al-Andalus, from their very origins, which involved the implementation of Middle Eastern forms of action in the way they were fit into the urban milieu.

    Alexandra Uscatescu is a professor with the Department of Art History at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. She holds a PhD in Classical and Medieval Archeology from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (1991) and a bachelor’s degree in Classical Philology from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (2002). Her academic education has been enriched by grants, contracts and research stays at notable sites in Spain, including a postdoctoral contract at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona), and stays in Italy (Royal Spanish Academy in Rome), Jordan (Spanish Archeological Mission in Gerasa) and Tunisia (cooperation project in Tunisia). She has been responsible for the Urban Archeology Program of the Autonomous Regional Government of Catalonia. She has spent her teaching
    career in the Departments of Archeology and Art History at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid and Universidad Complutense de Madrid (at present), in addition to the University of Reims as a visiting professor. Her lines of research focus on the study of architecture and visual culture from Rome and Late Antiquity, with a special interest in the cultural contact between East and West, as well as the processes of cultural continuity and artistic transformation of Roman art and early Islamic art in the Eastern Mediterranean.

    Carmen González Gutiérrez earned a PhD for her doctoral thesis on “The Mosques of Islamic Cordoba: Concept, types and urban function,” which she defended in 2016. Since then, she has continued to explore and expand this line of research by approaching the mosques of of Al-Andalus from various perspectives, including comparative analyses between East and West, gender perspectives, and so on. Her work has taken form in many scientific publications related to these topics, which has also been made possible by several stays and research contracts at international institutions like the University Lumière Lyon II (France), the Technical University of Berlin (Germany), the University of Bamberg (Germany), The Cyprus Institute (Cyprus) and the University of Erfurt (Germany). She is
    currently carrying out research activity in the University of Cordoba’s Archeology Department, as well as working under the “Religion and Urbanity” research project at the University of Erfurt’s Max-Weber-Kolleg(Germany).
  • The formation of material culture in Al-Andalus: Sharq and Gharb

    The formation of material culture in Al-Andalus: Sharq and Gharb

    March 15, 20227:00 p.m.
    CÓRDOBA
    Casa Árabe Auditorium (at Calle Samuel de los Santos Gener, 9). 7:00 p.m. Free entry until the event’s capacity is reached.
    In Spanish.
    On Tuesday, March 15, we continue with the ninth session in the series “Islamization Debated,” to be given by Prof. Victoria Amorós and Prof. Susana Gómez. The round table discussion will be moderated by Elena Salinas.
    Material culture is one of the best indicators for learning about a society. It is no exception in the case of Al-Andalus. Studying material culture allows us to get a closer look at cuisine and eating habits of Al-Andalus, rituals at the dinner table, figuring out how they used lighting, how they heated their homes and the ways in which they decorated the courtyards in their houses. In medieval times, however, still distant from today’s globalization, material culture was not the same in every corner of Al-Andalus, nor were the habits of consumption alike. Many variables were involved, including the past traditions from before the Muslims’ arrival, alongside varying contact with outside influences and a permeability to the fashions
    of the era, as well as depending upon whether examining life in the city or rural settlements.

    As a result of studies in recent years, a great deal of progress has been made towards understanding not only what objects were produced and consumed, but also why these preferences arose.

    This debate has been proposed as a dichotomy between the two great regions of al-Andalus: Sharq and Gharb, East and West. Both areas formed and evolved in their own ways in terms of material culture, displaying shared elements combined with distinctive features. This is a reflection of social foundations based on different customs and varying degrees of Islamization, falling within the borders of the Iberian Peninsula. A specialist from each field will analyze the causes behind these unique qualities, the importance held by the Roman-Visigothic substratum and the idiosyncrasies of each region when it came to shaping ceramic housewares in the early centuries of Al-Andalus, as well as the point which research has reached at the present time.

    Victoria Amorós Ruiz is a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Alicante, where her research is focused on studying the material culture of the Early Medieval period, above all the features which make it possible to examine the economic and social changes that took place as of the Late Roman period and the Islamization process in the southeastern Iberian Peninsula and Maghreb region, with studies revolving around the ensembles of materials at the sites of El Tolmo de Minateda (Hellín, Albacete) and Volubilis (Morocco). 

    She is currently carrying out a research project coordinated by the University of Alicante and CSIC which seeks to find the relationships between early medieval pottery production and food resources so as to achieve a better understanding of production strategies and consumption patterns in the early Middle Ages on the southeastern Iberian Peninsula.

    Susana Gómez Martínez 
    Holder of a bachelor’s degree in Geography and History and a PhD from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, since 1992 she has been a researcher at the Mértola Archeological Site (CAM), and since 2007 at the Center for Studies on Archeology, Arts and Heritage Sciences at the Republic of Portugal’s Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT). 

    From 2009 to 2014, she was a contract researcher at the University of Coimbra, under the aegis of the FCT program “Science 2008,” and from 2014 through 2018 she was a visiting assistant professor at the Universities of the Algarve, Lisbon, Évora and Huelva. She is currently an assistant professor at the University of Évora. 

    She performs her work in the field of medieval archeology and museum studies, as well as the highlighting and dissemination of heritage. She is participating in several research projects and coordinating the Study Group for Islamic Ceramics from Garb al-Andalus (CIGA). She authored the traveling exhibitions “Signs from Everyday Life: Gestures, marks and symbols in Al-Andalus” and “In the Confines of Al-Andalus: Mértola and the Guadiana.” Amongst more than 160 publications, the most notable she has authored are the books “Las Artes del Islam: cerámica, marfiles, tejidos, vidrios y metales” (“The Arts of Islam: Ceramics, ivory, fabrics, glass and metal,” 2020, ed.) and “La cerámica islámica de Mértola” (“Islamic Ceramics from Mértola,” 2014). She is a member of the Directorate of the Mértola Archeological Site and the Spanish Medieval Archeology Association, and the Vice-President of the International Association for the Study of Medieval and Modern Ceramics in the Mediterranean (AIECM3)
  • Beyond the Umayyad City: Territories and periphery

    Beyond the Umayyad City: Territories and periphery

    April 12, 20227:00 p.m.
    CORDOBA
    Casa Árabe’s YouTube channel. 7:00 p.m.
    In Spanish.
    On Tuesday, April 12, we will be broadcast deferred the tenth session of our series “Islamization Debated” in Cordoba, with Professors Julio Escalona and José Cristóbal Carvajal. The round table discussion was moderated by Carmen González Gutiérrez.
    At this session, we will be addressing other territories in Al-Andalus and its peripheries, defined as the areas physically farthest from Cordoba, but also those places which did not form part of its cityscapes. They will be discussing the cultural exchanges that can be found in these and other areas in different arenas, the varying paces of change and development which Islamization entailed, the common factors that they share, and the resistance and rebellion that arose in certain places. This perspective makes it possible to explore many levels of analysis: political and identity-related developments, economic circuits, the way exchange networks and productive activities operated, the existence of bilingualism, architectural influences and imports, cultural forms of expression and a full range of other factors. Throughout this journey, there will also be reflection upon the different ways in which some of these phenomena have been treated in
    historical studies.

    Julio Escalona, with a PhD from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, is currently a Researching Scientist at Spain’s CSIC. He works with the Department of Medieval Studies’ Institute of History and the research group “Networks of Power in Medieval Societies.” He is also an Honorary Senior Research Associate at the Institute of Archaeology (University College London, United Kingdom). His research is based on combining history and archeology to study the European societies of the High and Late Middle Ages, following two main areas of study: the relationship between territory, society and power in medieval Europe, analysis of medieval written sources from the perspective of historical memory and the use of information technologies for research in history and medieval archeology (especially database design and electronic mapping). He has taken part in numerous nationally and internationally funded research projects, including the direction of five projects forming part of Spain’s National Research, Development and Innovation Plan (I+D+i).

    José C. Carvajal López is a professor of Historical Archeology at the University of Leicester’s School of Archaeology and Ancient History in the United Kingdom. With both a bachelor’s degree and PhD from the University of Granada, he was a Marie Curie Intra-European Fellow in the Department of Archaeology at the University of Sheffield (2010-2012) and a professor of Islamic Archaeology at UCL Qatar (2013- 2017). His fields of research cover the Islamic period (especially the early era, but also later dates) and Islamization processes, above all in Al-Andalus and Qatar. He has studied ceramic production processes and landscapes in Spain, Qatar, Morocco, Albania, Greece, Turkey, Palestine, Iraqi Kurdistan and Kazakhstan. He is particularly interested in processes of change and cultural encounters, and in the application of archeological theory to the problems associated with Islamization processes.
  • The market as an essential space in Al-Andalus cities: <i>souks </i>and <i>fanadiq </i>

    The market as an essential space in Al-Andalus cities: souks and fanadiq

    April 26, 202207:00 p.m.
    CORDOBA
    Casa Árabe Auditorium (at Calle Samuel de los Santos Gener, 9). 07:00 p.m. Free entry until the auditorium’s capacity is reached.
    In Spanish.
    POSTPONED. On Tuesday, April 26, the last session in our series “Islamization Debated” will be held in Cordoba. It will be given by Professors Alicia Hernández Robles and María Teresa Casal. The round table will be moderated by Elena Salinas.
    Notice: For reasons unrelated to Casa Árabe, we are forced to postpone this activity. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding.

    During this session, we will get a closer look at the trade which took place in the souks and markets of of Al-Andalus, forming an essential space in Islamic cities and settlements.

    One part of these markets was known as the funduq, an essential building where goods were stored, merchants were given lodging when they arrived from places all throughout the Dar al-Islam and important business transactions were carried out. For a long time relegated to a secondary role, its importance is being appreciated once again as a result of recent research which highlights its place as an articulating feature of commercial life in Al-Andalus.

    The guest researchers will be discussing the origin of this type of establishment on the Iberian Peninsula, as well as that of the market and souk; the peculiarities of these fanadiq depending on their geographical locations, the type of goods they stored, and the ways in which they were transformed as an institution, as well as examining them from an architectural perspective, across the centuries. In short, we will be performing an overview of their evolution, taking us to the heart of Moorish trade from the period of the Emirate to the era of the Nasrids.

    Alicia Hernández Robles is a pre-doctoral researcher (FPU-MECD) in the Medieval History Department at the University of Murcia. The subject of study for her doctoral thesis is the funduq in Al-Andalus. Her thesis director is Professor Jorge A. Eiroa Rodríguez, PhD. Alicia earned her bachelor’s degree in History from the University of Murcia (2012-2016) and a Master’s degree in Arab and Hebrew Cultures: Al-Andalus and the Contemporary Arab World, from the University of Granada (2016-2017). She is a member of the ARHIS Group (Historical Archeology and Heritage of the Western Mediterranean) at the University of Murcia and is taking part in several research projects, including “The origins of the Italian presence in Murcia (twelfth-fifteenth centuries)” (University of Murcia), funded by the Seneca Foundation (Science and Technology Agency of the Region of Murcia), and the project “Industry and trade in Al-Andalus (twelfth-fifteenth centuries)” (University of Granada), funded by the Autonomous Regional Government of Andalusia (ERDF Program). She also co-directs the archeological work being performed at the archeological site of San Esteban in Murcia, Spain.

    María Teresa Casal García has a PhD in Heritage and Archeology from the University of Cordoba. She has received accreditation from ANECA as an Associate PhD Professor and is a specialist in Archeology and Medieval History of Al-Andalus. She has a great deal of experience in research, teaching and managing archeological excavations, all backed by her years of work on the agreement between the Municipal Urban Planning Management Department and the University of Cordoba. She later continued her work at the Spanish National Research Council’s Institute of History-CCHS (CSIC, Madrid). She has completed several research stays abroad and has authored over thirty specialized publications with a great impact in the field. She has been part of and currently belongs to several domestic and foreign research groups and projects. She has been invited to speak at different Spanish and foreign universities and institutions, where she has presented her research during congresses, seminars and Master’s degree programs on medieval history and archeology, including: Oxford and Leeds (UK); Hamburg (Germany); Lyon and Paris Sorbonne (France) and Shanghai (China).
  • City formation in al-Andalus and its impact on the region 

    City formation in al-Andalus and its impact on the region 

    May 10, 20227:00 p.m.
    CORDOBA.
    Casa Árabe Auditorium (at Calle Samuel de los Santos Gener, 9). 7:00 p.m. Free entry until the event’s capacity is reached. The decision on whether to hold these activities in person will depend upon the health situation at the time, and mask use will be required.
    In Spanish.
    On Tuesday 10 May, the series "Islamisation under debate" continues, dedicated to the scientific discussion of this phenomenon experienced by the Visigothic population in al-Andalus. On this occasion, archaeologists Juan Francisco Murillo and Julio Navarro will address the emergence of the Andalusian cities.
    One of the most remarkable aspects of Islamic society is its eminently urban character. The foundation of cities and the formation of an urban landscape are some of the signs of the process of Islamisation. New approaches to research, combining, among other disciplines, cultural anthropology, jurisprudential analysis and archaeological information, have led to significant advances in the interpretation of the urban phenomenon in al-Andalus in recent years. Suggestive hypotheses have been put forward about the formation and evolution of Andalusian cities that have an impact on the dynamism of urban planning. In this panorama, the case of Cordoba stands out as the capital of the flamboyant Umayyad state, whose urban planning process has been well studied over the last two decades. The presentation of these proposals by their main promoters, Dr. Julio Navarro and Dr. Juan Murillo, respectively, will be the subject of debate in this new session of the conference on "Islamisation under debate". Moderated by: Alberto León Muñoz.

    Juan F. Murillo Redondo
    Director of the Archaeology Office of the Cordoba City Council’s Urban Planning Department since 1993. Working in conjunction with the University of Cordoba (UCO) Archeology Department since 1988, he has been an educator in various PhD and graduate programs, and a researcher on many different projects funded by public institutions. He has contributed to introducing the stratigraphic excavation system in Cordoba and the implementation of the recording system known asal-Mulk. A member of the “Sísifo” research group at the UCO, he has developed several research projects on the transition between the late ancient and early medieval city, and on analysis of the strategies for exploiting Cordoba’s periurban environment. He has also authored over a dozen monographic works and articles in specialized journals from Spain and abroad.

    Julio Navarro Palazón
    Holder of a PhD in Islamic Archaeology and head of the research group “Laboratory of Archeology and Architecture of the City” (LAAC), which forms part the School of Arab Studies of Granada (CSIC). He is one of the leading specialists in Islamic architecture and urbanism, a subject on which he has directed several research projects, conferences and monographs. His archeological work has been performed from Jordan to Morocco. His current work studying the great Islamic recreational estates began in Murcia with the excavation of Dar as-Sugra (Monastery of Santa Clara) and Castillejo de Monteagudo. In 2012-14, he began prospecting the Agdal in Marrakesh and the other estates surrounding that city; in 2018, he resumed excavations at the “almunia” of Castillejo de Monteagudo and at Palermo’s Quba Soprana in September 2020.

    Alberto León Muñoz
    A professor of Archeology with the University of Cordoba’s the Department of History of Art, Archaeology and Music since 2011, he has focused his research on late antique and medieval archeology, the archeology of architecture, Islamic archeology, Andalusian urbanism, medieval fortifications and urban archeology. From 2001 to 2008, he formed part of a research team created within the framework of the Cooperation Agreement between the city’s Urban Planning Management Department and the University of Cordoba, heading several archeological digs, including the Patio de Mujeres at the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos, the walled enclosure of La Calahorra and the borough of Sequnda. A member of the“Sísifo” research group at the UCO, he has participated as a researcher in many projects funded by Spain’s Ministry of Science and Technology, and the Spanish National Research, Development and Innovation Plan, including the following highlighted projects: the “Evolution of the historic city of Cordoba, the funerary world, medieval architecture and urbanism” and “Development and Innovation oriented towards the Challenges of Society for digitalization of the documentary legacy of Catalan architect Felix Hernández Jiménez.” He is currently co-directing the project “From Iulius Caesar to the Catholic Monarchs: An archeological analysis of 1500 years of history at Cordoba’s Mosque-Cathedral and its surrounding urban environment,” within the framework of the State Programs for Producing Knowledge and Scientific and Technological Strengthening of the Research, Development and Innovation System (Year 2020 call for entries), and he is directing the Focused Archeological Activity in the Cordoba Mosque-Cathedral’s Patio de los Naranjos (since September 2020). He has carried out research stays at the universities of La Sorbonne (Paris IV), Lyon II, Padua, Siena and Cologne, and he is a member of the scientific boards at several specialized journals: Spal; Post Classical Archaeologies; Revista Onoba, Cuadernos de Arquitectura and Fortificación, Revista Castillos de España, and at the Journal of Material Cultures in the Muslim World, as well as others.
October 5, 2021. “Islamization in studies on Al-Andalus”
Participants: Vicente Salvatierra Cuenca and Sonia Gutiérrez Lloret.
Moderated by: Alberto León.

Participants: Juan F. Murillo Redondo and Julio Navarro Palazón.
Moderated by: Alberto León.

Participants: Jesús Brufal Sucarrat and Pedro Gurriarán Daza. 
Moderated by: Alberto León.

Participants: Fátima Martín and Ruth Pliego. 
Moderated by: María Teresa Casal.

Participants: Alfonso Vigil-Escalera and Mercedes Navarro. 
Moderated by: María Teresa Casal.

January 25, 2022. “Al-Andalus, the Mediterranean and other worlds”. POSTPONED UNTIL MAY 31.
Participants: Eduardo Manzano and Chris Wickham.
Moderated by: Elena Salinas. 

Participants: José María Martín Civantos and Ferrán  Esquilache. 
Moderated by: Carmen González. 

Participants: Alexandra Uscatescu and Carmen González.
Moderated by: María Teresa Casal.

March 15, 2022. “Perdurance of indigenous culture in the Sharq and Gharb Al-Andalus.”
Participants: Victoria Amorós and Susana Gómez.
Moderated by: Elena Salinas.

April 5, 2022. “Beyond the urban world: conquest and Islamization of Al-Andalus territory.”
Participants: Julio Escalona and José Cristóbal Carvajal.
Moderated by: Carmen González.

April 26, 2022. “The market as an essential space in Al-Andalus cities: the souks and fanadiq.”
 Participants: Alicia Hernández Robles and María Teresa Casal.
Moderated by: Elena Salinas.

10 May 2021. "The formation of the Andalusian city and its projection in the territory".
Participants: Juan F. Murillo Redondo and Julio Navarro Palazón.
Moderator: Alberto León.

31 May 2022. "al-Andalus, the Mediterranean and other worlds".
Participants: Eduardo Manzano and Chris Wickham.
Moderator: Elena Salinas.