Strangers and Neighbors London Conference

Strangers and Neighbors: Hostility and Hospitality in Late Medieval/Early Modern European Contexts

May 20-22, 2022 • London Global Gateway

Register for Conference HERE

Is the foreigner friend or foe? The rhetoric around immigration has become ever more
heated as globalization, climate change, pandemics, civil wars and proxy wars, the ease of
travel, and cross-cultural exchange and encounter have rapidly increased. In the transition
from the medieval to the early modern period, a similar intensity in such activity within
Europe and outside its borders dominated everything from literature to politics to religion.
A nascent xenophobia makes itself known in disputes between different peoples, of course,
but also between members of the same culture. In France, for example, Protestants were
often considered a foreign element to be excised.

On the other hand, foreigners often fascinated the natives or served as a political tool
of comparison in their attempts to affirm or purify their own culture. Either way,
representations of and interactions with the foreigner could reveal ambiguity with respect
to the newcomer but also within one’s own culture. The stranger could quickly become
one’s neighbor, if the conditions were right. This complicates medieval and early modern
xenophobia, as fears can be assuaged if certain advantages present themselves.

This interdisciplinary international conference, with a special focus on the domains of literature, religion,
theology, politics, and history and their intersections, seeks to explore the reality of
xenophobia and what role it played in medieval and early modern societies. Do outsiders
offer an opportunity for charity or even enlightenment? Are they insidious agents of a
foreign power or reinforcements called in to strengthen a purportedly supranational religious
identity? Are they rapacious barbarians or civilized partners of trade? This is more than a
question of the “Other”; it is about exploring the ambiguities of migration and cross-cultural
exchange in the culture and in daily life in a period of religious, political, and cultural
upheaval within Europe and beyond.

Conference Schedule

Friday, 20 May
5:30–6:45 PM, Opening Keynote
Holes in the Wall
George Hoffmann, University of Michigan

Saturday, 21 May
9–10:30 AM, Panel I: Love, Betrayal, and Neighbor Ambivalences
The Late Scholastics and the Moral Rehabilitation of Hatred
Daniel Schwartz, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Defeating His Opponent by Accusing Him of “selling the fatherland to the Spanish”
Gaëlle Demelemestre, French National Center of Scientific Research
Sojourners and Strangers Among You: Faith, Charity, Infidels, and the Jews in Francisco Suárez’s Theological Jurisprudence
Elisabeth Kincaid, Nashotah House Seminary

11 AM–12:30 PM, Panel II: Otherness and Challenging Diasporas
The Problem with (Possible) Saints, or English Catholics in the Centers and Peripheries of Early Modern Catholicism
Freddy Dominguez, University of Arkansas
Painting the Flight into Egypt in Sixteenth-Century Antwerp
Barbara Kaminska, Sam Houston State University
Corroding L’Hospitalité Sainte: The Skeptical Treatment of Hospitality in Les Portugaiz infortunez (ca. 1608)
Toby Wikström, University of Iceland

1:30–3 PM, Panel III: Uncommon Politics of Early-Modern Spain
The Story of Juana Errada, an Enslaved Morisca Woman
Stacey Aronson, University of Minnesota Morris
Saintly Boycotters: Juan de Cabrera, Mercantile Eudaemonism, and the Reason-of-State Tradition
Elsa Costa, Duke University
Baptism, Justification, and Salvation: Duns Scotus and the Franciscan Socio-political Agenda in New Spain
Aldri Cela, Cambridge University

3:30–5 PM, Panel IV: Stranger Things in England
Economies of Toleration in William Haughton’s Englishmen for My Money
Casey Caldwell, Carthage College
“Our Good Neighbours”: Spatial Proximities and Early Modern Fairy Neighbourship
Chris Klippenstein, Columbia University
Thomas Cromwell’s Italian Past: Hospitality, Memory, and National Identity from Bandello to Mantel
JoAnn DellaNeva, University of Notre Dame

Sunday 22 May
9–10:30 AM, Panel V: (Un)Orthodoxies Within and Without
Local Strangers: Jewish (Self)Perceptions of Difference in Medieval Kabbalah
Hartley Lachter, Lehigh University
Greek Orthodox Christians in the Holy Roman Empire: Between Familiarity and Alterity
Richard Calis, Cambridge University
Reenchanting Hierarchy: An Early Jesuit Strategy of Reconciliation
Aaron Pidel, S.J., Marquette University

11 AM–12:30 PM, Closing Keynote
The King’s Usurers: Jews and the English Crown in the Thirteenth Century
John Tolan, Nantes Université


Keynote Speakers:

George Hoffmann, University of Michigan

George Hoffmann is a professor of French at the University of Michigan, where he
specializes in the literature, history, and culture of sixteenth-century France, with a special
focus, among others, on religious studies and the history of the Reformation. He received
his M.Phil. from the Université d’Aix Marseille before completing his Ph.D. from the
University of Virginia in 1990. Reforming French Culture (2017), his most recent book,
argues that religious satire not only fostered the crucial reformed experience of spiritual
alienation but that this experience informed the trajectory of French culture more broadly,
descending to today’s republican universalism and laïcité.

John Tolan, University of Nantes

John Tolan he is currently professor of History at the University of Nantes and member of the Academia Europæa and the Reial Acadèmia de Bones Lletres de Barcelona. He works on the history of religious and cultural relations between the Arab and Latin worlds in the Middle Ages and on the history of religious interaction and conflict between Jews, Christians and Muslims. He studied at Yale (BA classics), University of Chicago (MA & PhD history) and the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (HDR). He is author of numerous articles and books, including Saracens: Islam in the Medieval European Imagination (2002), Saint Francis and the Sultan (2009), and Faces of Muhammad: Western Perceptions of the Prophet of Islam from the Middle Ages to Today (2019). He is one of the four coordinators of the European Research Council program “The European Qur’an” (2019-2025)


Register for Conference HERE

For additional inquiries or questions, please email either of the co-organizers: Gregory Haake ( or David Lantigua (

This event is generously supported by the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, the Nanovic Institute for European Studies, and the Kellogg Institute for International Studies.