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Dr Theresa Jaeckh


Researcher in the Department of History
Member of the Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies



I am Tenure Track Professor (Juniorprofessorin) for Medieval Mediterranean History at Tübingen University, Germany. At the same time, I work as Research Fellow at Durham’s Department of History whilst I act as Principal Investigator of the binational research project “Interreligious Communication in and between the Latin-Christian and the Arabic-Islamic Sphere: Macro-theories and Micro-settings”. 

RELCOM: Interreligious Communication in and between the Latin-Christian and the Arabic-Islamic Sphere

This project is generously supported by the UK-German Funding Initiative in the Humanities (AHRC & DFG/German Research Foundation) over a period of three years (2022‒2025). Together with Daniel König (Konstanz), two Postdocs (Durham&Konstanz) and our Co-I Christopher Bahl (Durham) we aim to analyse “Interreligious Communication in and between the Latin-Christian and the Arabic-Islamic Sphere” through both macro-theories and micro-settings.

In the past thirty years, research has done much to refine our understanding of Jewish-Christian-Muslim relations in the wider Mediterranean by analysing political, economic, social, and cultural fields of interaction, by highlighting phenomena of mutual perception, transgression, and hybridity, and also by proposing models of interreligious interaction ranging from conflict to convivencia. Within these frameworks, scholars have formulated a large number of hypotheses to describe various settings and patterns of Jewish-Christian-Muslim communication. In light of the huge variety of interreligious communicative processes documented in the extant primary source evidence, these models and hypotheses have yet to be critically evaluated in terms of their complementary character, inherent contradictions, and plausibility.

Our project engages with the varieties of interreligious communication from a macro-historical and from several micro-historical perspectives. On the macro-historical level, it will collect, juxtapose, and systematize scholarly hypotheses on interreligious communication. On the micro-historical level, four sub-projects – of which this post forms one – will focus on a series of case-studies as a way of critically examining existing models dealing with Jewish-Christian-Muslim communication.

Apart from this research, I work on landscapes and societies that experienced religious and political expansions and, as a consequence, were characterised by considerable degrees of transcultural contacts and communication.

My first monograph (“Raumgeschichte einer Hauptstadt”) analyses the urban history of Palermo under Muslim and Christian rule from c. 800 to 1200. Overall, the book presents a new interpretation of Palermo’s urban topography as a natural, built, and social environment in which we can read continuous change and multi-layered transformations – some of them intentional intervention and others long-term developments. Thus, the book offers a case-study of continuity and discontinuity in a Mediterranean capital city between changing rulerships and dominant religions.

While I continue to be interested in the landscapes of medieval Sicily, I also want to dive into something entirely new: over the coming years, I intend to study “Legal Cultures in the Medieval Mediterranean: Communication and Decision Making in Multireligious Societies”. This project aims to investigate how groups and individuals in multireligious societies navigated between different legal arenas to seek advice or receive justice.

In addition, together with Daniel König and Eric Böhme (both Konstanz University, Germany) I am the co-editor of a commented anthology of Arabic and Latin primary sources that will soon be published as an online journal. “Transmediterranean History: A Commented Anthology of Primary Sources” is an exciting initiative that seeks to make Arabic and Latin primary sources accessible to researchers, students, and enthusiasts alike.

Research Interests
  • Landscapes and spatial history
  • Political and religious expansions
  • Legal cultures, legal advice and decision making
  • Religious minorities
  • Water, water-management and waterscapes