Event—Center for Renaissance Studies

Early Modern Anglo-Muslim Encounters


The aims of this proposed workshop are two-fold: to provide an introduction and overview of a growing scholarly engagement with Anglo-Muslim relations from the mid-sixteenth to the late seventeenth centuries as represented in a selected body of English texts: plays, travel texts, histories, religious and propaganda pamphlets, Atlases, and maps; and more specifically to guide a close micro-reading of selected archival materials, primarily from the Newberry special collections, that illuminate the interactions and “translations” between early modern English (Christian) and Muslim empires and travelers. Drawing on these sources, the workshop will focus on the nature and frequency of the actual encounters between the English and the Muslims, as well as the ways in which “Mahometans” had a vivid presence in the national imagination in the period. A central question was what these representations reveal about the prevailing English understanding and acceptance of Muslim peoples within different cultural, religious, and political contexts in the early modern period. Participants will engage with these issues in relation to diverse source materials in early modern literature, culture, and history and also consider some selective responses of Islamic cultures in the Mughal and Ottoman empires to Western influences and encroachments.

Learn more about the instructor: Jyotsna Singh, Michigan State University