Course date

14 July - 25 July, 2008
Application deadline
15 February, 2008
Course Director(s): 

Jozsef Laszlovszky

Cultural Heritage Studies Program, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary
Course Faculty: 

Michel Balard

University of Paris I Sorbonne Pantheon, France

Jochen Burgtorf

California State University-Fullerton, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, History, United States of America

Ronnie Ellenblum

Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Social Sciences, Israel

John France

University of Wales, Swansea, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Swansea, United Kingdom

Jurgen Sarnowsky

Hamburg University, Department of History, Germany

Hugh Kennedy

University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, UK

Janus Moller Jensen

University of Southern Denmark, History and Civilization, Odense, Denmark

Alan Murray

University of Leeds, International Medieval Bibliography, UK

Recently, major international conferences and monographic studies reinterpreted the whole period of the crusades and the emergence of the medieval military orders and proposed fundamentally new concepts for the explanation of this religious and military conflict. They represent an extremely wide range of modern ideas of reinterpretation and many complex issues concerning the concept of holy war, as a new type of warfare and interaction between Christian and Muslim societies, regional development patterns in the Holy Land and other crusader states, and the very general concept concerning the clashes of cultures.

These very important new historical works were also confronted with contemporary political events and with the most recent religious and military conflicts between the Western world and the Islam. "Nine eleven" and the fundamentalist Islam movement confronted the scholars dealing with the problem of crusades and the military orders with the fact that their research agenda is not simply an academic problem, but one of the most difficult political and religious issues of our world.

A fundamentally different explanation and interpretation of this issue can be found in several well-documented and clearly argued studies of scholars, who follow the concept of a gradual transformation and take into consideration the evidence for war and destruction just as the evidence for revival, restructuring or co-habitation. New research methods and approaches (environmental-historical studies, architectural history of military constructions, art historical interpretations of Christian-Muslim interactions) offer a wide panorama on the fast growing published written source material, the archaeological evidence of this period, which fundamentally changed our understanding of the main issues of the period. Based on these recent studies and the discussions and debates generated by them the summer course wants to focus on these questions and plans to offer an interdisciplinary approach for scholars.