Catholic University of America Symposium

The Spain-North Africa Project will present a one-day symposium on November 30, 2011, hosted by Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.  The theme of the symposium is “Spanning the Straits: Unity/Disunity in the Western Mediterranean.”  The event will take place the day before the MESA annual meeting, which runs from December 1-4 this year.

The SNAP Symposium will consist of three academic functions designed to address the question, “Why Iberia and North Africa?” To that end, the overarching theme behind the day’s conversations will explore aspects of unity and disunity in the medieval and early modern western Mediterranean and the implications these paradigms carry for scholars’ work in the field.

We will have a panel, a workshop, and a roundtable to serve as the day’s academic events. We will also have a social gathering so that SNAP members in attendance can mingle and get to know one another in a less formal setting.

Panel – The panel will consist of polished papers, and we encourage people who are working on articles for the SNAP special issues ofMedieval Encounters and the Journal of North African Studies to use this forum to present their work.

Workshop – The workshop will serve as a chance for people who are interested in presenting work-in-progress to share papers and to participate in a collegial conversation as they work through ideas. As with the panel, we encourage contributors to the Medieval Encounters and

Journal of North African Studies special issues to present at the workshop, particularly if they feel they could benefit from discussing their ideas as they work toward more polished drafts of their articles.

Roundtable – The day’s capstone event will be a roundtable featuring SNAP members Lourdes Alvarez (Catholic University), Jonathan Ray (Georgetown University), Glaire Anderson (University of North Carolina), and Jocelyn Hendrickson (Whitman College), who will give brief presentations on how they have incorporated a pan-Straits approach in their work. The roundtable will also address the role of SNAP in terms of the potential for scholarly contributions to the field, as well as the role of the SNAP organization in the academic community. Following these four brief presentations, we will open up the roundtable to a discussion of the reason for treating Iberia and the Maghrib as a coherent unit, and there will be opportunity for audience questions and participation.

If you are interested in participating in either the panel or the workshop, please submit a 300-word abstract outlining your proposed presentation for the Symposium. Please indicate within your abstract whether you would prefer to participate in the panel or the workshop.  Abstracts should be emailed to Andrew Devereux at

The deadline for submission of abstracts is July 1, 2011.

The SNAP Executive Committee would like to emphasize that both the panel and workshop are open to papers on all topics. While these can serve as good forums to test ideas for articles for Medieval Encountersand the Journal of North African Studies, these two forums are open, and not restricted to contributors to those two publications.

The ultimate objective of the SNAP Symposium at CUA is to foster academic community among SNAP members. Regardless of whether you plan to present at the CUA Symposium, we encourage everyone to attend the symposium, especially those who live near Washington, D.C., or who plan to go to MESA (Dec 1-4). In addition to the SNAP Symposium at CUA, we would like to notify everyone who will be in the greater Washington area for MESA that Abby Balbale has organized a roundtable for MESA that will mark the 1300th anniversary of Islam in Iberia. The roundtable participants, as well as the audience, will discuss the question “Is Iberia a Middle Eastern topic?”  We invite everyone to continue the conversation after the SNAP Symposium by attending this roundtable at MESA.