Mercedes García-Arenal Rodríguez

Email: mercedes.garciaarenal [at]
Teléfono: (+34) 916022422
Extensión Interna: 441367
Despacho: 1C10
Contratada Postdoctoral. Otras Convocatorias
Instituto de Lenguas y Culturas del Mediterráneo y Oriente Próximo
Departamento de Estudios Judíos e Islámicos
Grupo: Historia Cultural del Mediterráneo
Mercedes García-Arenal Rodríguez

Mercedes García-Arenal has received the Premio Nacional de Investigación "Ramón Menéndez Pidal" in Spain, 2019; and is member of the Scientific Council of the ERC.

Since 2019 she is coordinator of ERC Synergy Grant 2018 (2019-25) – “The European Qur’an. Islamic Scripture in European Culture and Religion 1150-1850.” ERC-2018-SyG / 810141 — EuQu.

She was Principal Investigator of the ERC Advanced Grant “Conversion, Overlapping Religiosities, Polemics, Interaction: Early Modern Iberia and Beyond,” the CORPI project (2013-19).

Mercedes García-Arenal has a PhD in Arabic and Islam from the Universidad Complutense in Madrid (1976). She was a post-doctoral fellow in the London School of Oriental and African Studies (1976-1978) on a British Council Scholarship. In 1981, she received tenure as a Junior Researcher at the Consejo Superior de Investiagaciones Científicas, where she has been a Research Professor since 1990. She was a Visiting Scholar at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton (1988-89), and Directeur d’ Etudes de l’ EHESS (Paris) in the Spring term of 1992.

She has been actively involved in service to her institution, mainly as Member of the Steering Committee, Junta de Gobierno, CSIC (2003-2008) and Member of the Comisión de Área de Ciencias Humanas y Sociales, CSIC (2005-2008). She has also invested a lot of time and energy in being Directing Editor of the journal Al-Qantara. Revista de Estudios Árabes, from 1999 till 2013. She is also on the editorial board of several scholarly journals: The Maghreb Review (1999-present), Hésperis-Tamuda (2008-present) Journal of Medieval Iberian Studies (2010-present), Mediterranean Historical Review (2009-present), and Journal of Early Modern History (2012-present).

Among the numerous invitations she has received to present her work worldwide, she has held the Stewart Professorship in the Humanities at Princeton University (April 2013) given the Cochrane Lecture, Department of History, University of Chicago (2010) and the Hamilton Gibb Lectures, Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Harvard University (2008).

She has been PI of several research grants funded by the Spanish nacional government and has participated in international projects such as “Individual and Society in the Mediterranean Muslim World”, funded as an à la carte project by the European Science Foundation and directed by Robert Ilbert (1991-95) In this project she was team leader of Hub 6, “Religious activity and experience.” She was also PI of the Research Program “Islam y disidencia religiosa en la Europa protestante y en la católica,” CCHS-CSIC (2010-2013).

She has directed 10 PhD dissertations.

Her research focuses on the religious history of Iberia and the Muslim West, mainly on religious minorities: conversion, polemics, messianism, religious dissidence, and dissimulation. She has focused on the impulses of assimilation and rejection by mainstream societies of religious minorities such as Muslims and converted Muslims in Iberia and Jews in North Africa. Much of her research is based on Inquisition documentation. She has cultivated long-term research interest in the study of religious minorities and religious conversion from a new methodological vantage point. She has thus been increasingly drawn to the small-scale, singular study of individual experiences that suggest a process of gradual disengagement, involving closely entwined yet competing notions of religion and group belonging, in cases that illustrate how formal institutions of power function while handling people’s affairs. Among the latter she has been especially interested in individuals who walk away from groups, and in looking at groups through the eyes of the disaffected and the uncommitted.

Among her main publications are:

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