Prof. Allen Fromherz of the History Department has recently published The Near West: Medieval North Africa, Latin Europe and the Mediterranean in the Second Axial Age (2016). The Near West is a political, social, and cultural history of a common Western Mediterranean culture linking Western Europe and North Africa.
Viewing the history of North Africa and Europe through the eyes of Christian kings and Muslim merchants, emirs and popes, Sufis, friars and rabbis, this book argues that they together experienced the twelfth-century renaissance and the commercial revolution. In the midst of this common commercial growth, North Africa and Europe also shared in a burst of spirituality and mysticism, instigating a Second Axial Age in the history of religion.
Challenging the idea of a Mediterranean split between Islam and Christianity, the book shows how the Maghrib (North Africa) was not a Muslim, Arab monolith or an extension of the exotic Orient. Rather, medieval North Africa was as diverse and complex as Latin Europe. Instead of dismissing North Africa as a sideshow of European history, it should be seen as an integral part of the story. (from publisher’s information).
Prof. Fromherz is also the director of GSU”s Middle East Studies Center, and his research focuses on the Mediterranean and the Gulf. His other publications include these books:
- Qatar: A Modern History (2012)
- The Almohads: The Rise of an Islamic Empire (2010)
- Ibn Khaldun: Life and Times (2010)
and these articles as well:
- “Between Springs: The Berber Dilemma,” Muslim World 104, no. 3 (July 2014): 240-249.
- “Ibn Khaldūn, Ibn al-Khaṭīb and Their Milieu: A Community of Letters in the Fourteenth-Century Mediterranean,” Medieval Encounters: Jewish, Christian and Muslim Culture in Confluence and Dialogue (ME) 20, no. 4-5 (2014): 288-305.
- “A Vertical Sea: North Africa and the Medieval Mediterranean,” Review of Middle East Studies 46, no. 1 (Summer 2012): 64-71.