Abigail Krasner Balbale is Assistant Professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at NYU. She received her PhD in History and Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard in 2012, and taught previously at the University of Massachusetts, Boston and at Bard Graduate Center. Her research focuses on the intersection of political power, religious ideology and visual and material culture in the medieval Islamic world. Her current book project centers on Ibn Mardanīsh, an enigmatic twelfth-century ruler who fought the Marrakech-based Almohad dynasty through alliance with his Christian neighbors and asserted his authority with reference to the Abbasid caliphate in the east. Generally, the book explores how Muslim rulers in the Western Mediterranean adapted and transformed ideologies and material symbols of power from the broader Islamic world in order to assert their authority. Using sources including chronicles, poetry and chancery documents, as well as coins, architecture, and portable objects, the book reveals both the interconnectedness of the Islamic world and the familiarity between the Christians and Muslims who competed for territory in the Western Mediterranean. She is a co-author, with Jerrilynn Dodds and María Rosa Menocal, of The Arts of Intimacy: Christians, Jews, and Muslims in the Making of Castilian Culture (Yale University Press, 2008), as well as co-editor of two collected volumes, Spanning the Strait: Studies in Unity in the Western Mediterranean (with Yuen-Gen Liang, Andrew Devereux and Camilo Gómez-Rivas, Brill, 2014) and Justice and Leadership in Early Islamic Courts (with Intisar Rabb, Harvard UP, 2018). Her work has been supported by grants from the Fulbright Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Medieval Academy of America.
Light lunch served.