POSTPONED: Graduate Student Invitation Series Lecture: Hussein Fancy (U of Michigan), "The Impostor Sea: The Making of the Medieval Mediterranean"


Location: Medieval Institute Main Reading Room (715 Hesburgh Library) (View on

Graduate Speaker Series 2020 Fancy Web

POSTPONED: As part of Notre Dame's response to COVID-19, this event has been postponed. We will share information about rescheduling at a later date. 

Original event information: The Medieval Institute presents a lecture by Hussein Fancy, Associate Professor of History at the University of Michigan. A reception will follow the lecture. 

Each year the Medieval Institute's graduate students organize a lecture, inviting a scholar to speak and conduct a subsequent graduate seminar; Professor Fancy will be the sixteenth speaker in the series. 

This lecture traces the activities of religious impostors, pious robbers, repentant smugglers, and multi-religious gangs, who populated the thirteenth- and fourteenth-century western Mediterranean. Rather than outlaws or “enemies of all,” Fancy argues that these figures were central to the making of the late medieval Mediterranean. More exactly, he argues that a broad, juridical turn inspired new efforts to regulate illicit commerce and fraud, efforts that not only reflected but also shaped social practices, entrenching new religious, territorial, and racial boundaries. He presents three cases—three attempts to regulate smuggling—in Rome, Tunis, and Barcelona—in order to demonstrate how political and religious authority expanded not at the expense of illicit commerce but through its definition, regulation, and ultimately, its inclusion.

Hussein Fancy is Associate Professor of History at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He is the author of The Mercenary Mediterranean, which received the Herbert Baxter Adams Prize for best first book in European History from American Historical Association. He has been the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships. Most notably, he was a Junior Fellow of the Michigan Society of Fellows, a Carnegie Scholar, an ACLS Fellow, and a Rome Prize Fellow at the American Academy in Rome.

Updated by on 3/12/20.