Philanthropy and Foundations in the Eastern Mediterranean: Christian, Jewish and Muslim Perspectives
By choosing a broad chronological and more narrow geographical perspective, we seek to bring together strands of research that have until now been looked at separately. Although the history of both charity and foundations has attracted significant attention in the last twenty years, studies have either privileged a certain religious tradition , a specific time frame or a more general spatial approach.
Rather than following a Western (colonial), Braudel-inspired, perception of the (Eastern) Mediterranean as a static and archaic space with only very few structural changes over time, we are interested in the continuities and ruptures of discourses, practices, structures and norms of philanthropy and foundations from Late Antiquity until the present day. Our aim is to explore examples of giving and endowing in, but also between, the three monotheistic traditions that were most prominent in the region and to contribute thereby, to borrow Peregrine Horden's and Nicolas Purcell's phrase, to the history of charity and foundations in, and not of, the Mediterranean. Our special interest is in certain conjunctures and turning points of these discourses and practices: both the charged religious landscape of the Crusades or the 1860s were historical moments in which Christian, Islamic and Jewish philanthropic institutions were created all around the Mediterranean. Although most papers will concentrate on a specific religious tradition at a concise time and geographical space, we encourage the contributors to endeavor to compare their case studies to other religious traditions and other geographical and temporal spheres, in order to find out more about the reciprocal influences of the development of charity and endowments in the Eastern Mediterranean.