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Migration in the early modern world: the Franciscans of the Custody of the Holy Land as a facilitator of the circulation of people in the Mediterranean


Migration is a pressing socio-political concern today, but by no means a new phenomenon. Even though its significance for European society has long been recognized, key issues like the relationship between short- and long-distance mobility and the respective roles of local, regional and global factors remain to be fully investigated. This project focuses on unstudied movements of individuals and groups in early modern Palestine, both within the area and across the Mediterranean. Three aspects are particularly original: the unprecedented use of Catholic parish records from the Custody of the Holy Land of Jerusalem; the conceptualization of the Franciscan order as a migration network; and the integration of micro-, meso- and macro-level perspectives. Combined with Islamic court records and Ottoman surveys, database analysis of parish registers will help to answer what drove many people to leave their homes (and sometimes religion), what their decision meant for Middle Eastern society and whether migration was network-driven in this period.

MIGMED is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship project involving Dr Felicita Tramontana (CSR) and Professor Beat Kümin (Department of History). Running from 2016-18, it will host a number of workshops, collaborate with other Warwick research initiatives (such as the Parish Network) and share findings through a dedicated website (accessible from here soon).

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By TulyK - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,


Il S.Sepolcro al centro di Gerusalemme: Sebastian Munster -1550