CFP : Interfaith Love: Love, Sex and Marriage in the Islamicate World from the Middle Ages to the Present. Leiden | Deadline: 15 December 2015

From Wednesday 22 until Friday 24 June 2016, LUCIS organises in cooperation with the University of Naples ‘L’Orientale’ and the University of Salento an international conference entitled: Interfaith Love: Love, Sex and Marriage in the Islamicate World from the Middle Ages to the Present.


Interfaith love is a compelling topic in societies where faith is a decisive mark of identity, and culture is continuously shaped by interreligious coexistence and conflicts. In Medieval Islamic imagery the ‘religious other’, either boy or girl, has a prominent place in erotic poetry and love romances. The theme went through significant reshaping in the early modern period, when the confrontation between the Ottomans and Europe opened wide spaces for uncertain identities across contested frontiers. Eventually, it has taken on distinctive new forms in contemporary societies within the fragile framework of the Middle Eastern national identities but also in the West where issues related to interfaith love and marriages are increasingly part of the public debate.

This international conference seeks to explore, through a diachronic, interdisciplinary and comparative approach, how interfaith love is perceived and represented in historical, religious, legal, literary and artistic sources, both Islamic and non-Islamic. Relevant materials will be approached from multiple perspectives, and preferably in a comparative way, in order to bring out their historical, cultural and societal implications, and to analyse the way they shaped cultural representations both in the past and in the present. Narratives of interfaith love mirror a society’s understanding of cultural cross-influence, with its ‘dangers’ and ‘seductions’. As interfaith love concerns all the religious cultures involved in the process, the Islamic view will be complemented with that of other relevant cultures intertwined with Islam. This conference seeks to bring into focus the many facets of representation of this theme and trace its metamorphoses at turning points in history.

The main research questions we aim to address include:
– What are the different perceptions and representations of interfaith love in the various kinds of textual and visual sources produced both within and outside the Islamicate world?
– How social norms and boundaries shape and define the ‘performances’ of love affairs between the members of two different religious communities or two different sects within Islam (e.g. between Alevi and Sunni or Sunni and Shiite Muslims)?
– What are the gender implications of interfaith love and, in particular, how the representation of homoerotic love is intertwined with that of the ‘beloved infidel’?
– Why is the beloved in Islamic mystical-erotic poetry often of a different faith?

Organizing committee

Rosita D’Amora (University of Salento) Turkish Studies
Petra de Bruijn (Leiden University) Turkish Studies
Samuela Pagani (University of Salento) Arabic Studies
Monica Ruocco (Università L’Orientale of Naples) Arabic Studies
Asghar Seyed-Gohrab (Leiden University) Persian Studies

Call for application

Scholars, PhD candidates and advanced MA students doing research related to the subject of Interfaith Love are invited to apply for participation.

If application for participation has been successful, the following is granted:
– Participation in the complete programme, including lunches and the conference diner.
– Not included travel and accommodation expenses and the other meals.

To apply for participation, applications have to be sent to

For more information please contact: Rosita D’Amora ( and Asghar Seyed-Gohrab (

This application includes the following:
– a title and an abstract of 300 words (max.) of your presentation
– a short biography of 50 words (max.)

Deadline for application: Tuesday, 15 December  2015, 24.00 hrs (CET).

Applications that will reach us after this date will not be taken into consideration.


A provisional program will be available by the beginning of February.

Ouidad Hamitri

Doctorante en Histoire Médiévale à l'Université Lyon 2 et membre du CIHAM, elle travaille sur la chirurgie en Al-Andalus (Xe-XVe s.)

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