Ph.D. – University of Notre Dame, 2007
M.A. – Trinity Divinity School, 1999
B.A. – Northwestern University, 1996
Dr. Davis-Secord’s primary research focus is the history of Muslim-Christian interactions in the medieval Mediterranean, with an emphasis on social and economic relations between Sicily and the Islamic world. Her dissertation analyzed the communication networks that were formed in the central Mediterranean region from the sixth to thirteenth centuries. In it, she examined medieval Sicily’s political, economic, and cultural place within the Mediterranean to argue that it was only due to the policies of the Norman and Hohenstaufen administrations (1061-1250) that Sicily developed into a hub. This work challenged the historiography that has placed Sicily in the role of central hub in the early medieval period, only to be left behind in the later Middle Ages by the mercantile activities of mainland Italian cities. Utilizing a broad range of sources, in Latin, Greek, and Arabic, as well as Judeo-Arabic letters from the Cairo Geniza, Dr. Davis-Secord analyzed the networks of travel, trade, and communication linking Sicily with other regions of the Mediterranean, in order to re-envision the place of Sicily within both the Mediterranean system and the larger political and economic structures of the Middle Ages. She is at work revising her dissertation, entitled “Sicily and the Medieval Mediterranean: Communication Networks and Inter-Regional Exchange,” for publication as a monograph.
“Muslims in Norman Sicily: The Evidence of Imam al-Mazari’s Fatwas,” Mediterranean Studies vol. 16 (2007): 46-66.
“Sicily and Southern Italy” in Encyclopedia of Medieval Pilgrimage (publication expected Brill, 2009).
History of the Medieval Mediterranean
Early and High Medieval Europe
Medieval Islamic World
Christian - Muslim - Jewish Relations
Travel, Trade, and Communication
Medieval Religion and Society
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