Report of the Europe and Islam Days

Report of the Europe and Islam Days

Within the framework of European History Days, organized by the Association of Historians, History for all was able to attend the conferences on "Europe and Islam, from Al Andalous to Turkey's accession negotiations" on June 17-18, 2011, at the Malesherbes center in Paris. The opportunity to meet the best of specialists on the various topics covered, unfortunately with the obligation to make tough choices ...

European History Days

The eighth edition, which was held on June 17 and 18, 2011 at the Malesherbes center in Paris IV-Sorbonne, was in the same spirit as the previous ones, namely to promote the history of Europe in order to better understand the present. A vision of a Europe of twenty-seven which, despite the specificities of each of its member states, would form a single civilization, "linking us to each other".

These days, always very rich, are built around lectures on history and art history, then end with geopolitical debates. The desire to open up to the general public leads to dividing the conferences into two types: panoramic conferences and thematic ones, the latter being more targeted for a scholarly audience.

In addition, to these conferences is added "the European History Book Fair in Paris", which brings together the main publishers on the subject, and provides access to works not always available in general booksellers, including those of the Latin Quarter.

The prices, finally, if they may seem high at first glance (45 euros for the two-day pass, 35 euros for the reduced price, 20 euros for those under 26), are largely profitable as the days are full as an egg. , and lectures given by leading specialists. This was precisely the case for the “Europe and Islam” days.

"Europe and Islam, from Al Andalusians to Turkey's accession negotiations"

This year 2011, the subject was therefore the relations between Europe and Islam, relations in the broad sense since the Muslim presence in Europe was also discussed from the 8th century, and therefore, in a way, the "roots" (also) Muslims from Europe.

The first day focused on the 7th-16th century period, undoubtedly the best known to the general public, but also the one that stirs up the greatest number of received ideas, fantasies, even controversies, whether Al Andalus ( conference by Adeline Rucquoi) or obviously the Crusades. This has also been somewhat verified in certain speeches and reactions to the panoramic conferences. These were of high quality, with a special mention to Michel Kaplan ("Byzantine Europe and Islam, 7th-11th centuries"), whose erudition, wit and humor are always marvelous. Those who were lucky enough to have him as a professor at Paris I still remember… The thematic conferences were much more specific, but of equally remarkable quality (and the presence of “stars” such as Alain Demurger or John Tolan ), with fascinating subjects, some of which are too little known. We can cite in particular the interventions of Anne-Marie Eddé (“Saladin and his image in Europe”), Dominique Valérian (“Maritime trade between Latin Europe and Islam during the Middle Ages”) and Françoise Micheau (“Translations and translators in medieval Spain ”).

The second day dealt with the following period, until today. A period much less known generally, especially the XVI-XVIII centuries. Here again, the quality was there (with, among others, the intervention of Henry Laurens), and the subjects treated very diverse, and perhaps even sometimes a little too sharp, or in any case relating to subjects very tight. They had their originality for them, and that is also what makes the richness of this kind of event.

If we try to understand the overall spirit of these Days, the angle chosen seems to have been that of breaking down the clichés, of showing the complexity of relations and reciprocal views between Europeans and Muslims, while insisting on the presence of Islam on the continent for a long time. With, in watermark, from the intervention of Michel Kaplan and even in the title of these Days, the debate on the membership or not of Turkey in Europe, which has the advantage of qualifying the approach very " civilizational ”event.

The results of the Europe and Islam Days

In view of the proposed program, it must be admitted, it was a shock as the themes proposed were fascinating and the speakers renowned. Then, unfortunately, choices had to be made, and this is the main fault that can be made at these Days: the overlap of conferences. A paradox since it is to highlight its richness!

Indeed, what a dilemma to choose between Michel Kaplan and Alain Demurger, or between Michel Balard and Françoise Micheau, and this just for the first day! It is also impossible to take advantage of both the history conferences and those of the history of art, not to mention the geopolitical round tables on Saturday ...

The results are therefore very positive of course, but we must recommend that several people attend and divide up the conferences, dictaphone in hand, to make the most of them and not to feel a certain frustration at the end. We therefore wish many other European History Days, but hoping that they take place over at least three days ...

- "Europe and Islam, from Al Andalusians to Turkey's accession negotiations (17-18 June 2011)", within the framework of 8th European History Days, organized by the Association of Historians (see website).

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