Jeremy Pearson

  • Fellowship Dates 2015-2016
  • Research Topic Egypt, Palestine and the Mediterranean World: Reevaluating Muslim-Christian Relations in the Crusader States
  • Fellow or Grant Type Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs
  • Affiliation Pre-doctoral candidate University of Tennessee
At the end of the 11th century, thousands of European Christians traveled more than 2,000 miles to Jerusalem in order to “liberate” it from the Muslims who controlled it. In doing so, they were left in control of territory that included Palestine and large parts of Syria and Turkey, home to a diverse array of Muslims, Christians and Jews. These Crusader States endured for nearly two centuries and provided a ripe context for intercultural exchange. Previous generations of historians have denied that the experience seriously transformed these groups because much of the evidence from this period is polemical in tone and scholarly consensus has been shaped by genres which appear to show little interest in understanding the “other” and their religious beliefs. This research asks: Is it really possible that these communities could live so close for so long and have no meaningful effect upon one another? A deeper look at sources that survive from the Crusader States reveals that while these sources are often intolerant and dismissive on their surface, the arguments employed and points-of-view expressed are fundamentally informed by the “other," and it is this “other” who ultimately plays the greatest role in dictating the contours of the polemicists’ own community. The outcomes of this study introduce new sources and transform our understanding of life during the crusading period. They highlight the central role Egypt and Palestine played in religious, intellectual and cultural exchange between East and West and contribute to the larger project of understanding the relationship between communities within sectarian milieus, both past and present.

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