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Islam and Europe: Interactions, Perceptions, Transformations

Islam and Europe: Interactions, Perceptions, Transformations

This project belongs to the following research constellations:

Globalization and Migration


Michiel Leezenberg


Staff: Michiel Leezenberg, Ruud Peters, Richard van Leeuwen, Karen Vintges, Sipco Vellenga, Maaike van Berkel, Michael Kemper





In popular perceptions as well as academic institutions, Europe and the Islamic world are usually treated as radically different entities. This enduring conceptual opposition, paired with an equally tenacious disciplinary division, is misleading, since Europe and the Islamic world have a common background in judeo-christian religious traditions and in the political and juridical institutions of the Roman empire. They also have a virtually continuous tradition of intensive contacts, in part friendly, through trade, travel, and translation; and in part conflictual, through crusades, colonialism, and Islamic resistance against Western rule. The different members of our group explore the various ways in which these contacts have influenced and transformed cultural, religious and political discourse and practice among both Muslims and Christians. By exploring how such interactions shaped and reshaped mutual perceptions, identities and cultural traditions, we hope to provide more historical depth and factual accuracy to contemporary debates about the place of Islam and Muslims in contemporary Europe. The fields that will be covered are especially inter-communal relations and bureaucracy in Andalusia, Dutch-Ottoman relations in the period of the Enlightenment, travel, cultural exchange and religious thought, mutual perceptions and the construction of images in various periods, the cultural and political role of non-Muslim minorities in the Ottoman Empire, and the history of Oriental studies.


2 dissertations