Business with Infidels: Christian-Muslim Exchanges of Captives across the Medieval Mediterranean


ACLS Fellowship Program



Named Award

ACLS/NEH International and Area Studies Fellow named award


The redemption of captives in the medieval Mediterranean constitutes an extreme case of cultural exchange, insofar as it handles human wares that obviously speak of discord and conflict. This project examines the instruments of exchange, the forms of communication, and the mechanisms of collaboration between Christians and Muslims who worked as fakkak or alfaqueques (ransom exchange agents) and who should have had, on political and religious grounds, only the means to distrust one another. “Business with Infidels” aims to contribute to a growing historiography on Mediterranean cross-cultural relations, on long-distance trade, on networks, and on how trustworthy partnerships can be forged across religious groups in the absence of formal international courts of law.