Universität KonstanzExzellenzcluster „Kulturelle Grundlagen von Integration“

Prof. John V. Tolan

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John Tolan

John V. Tolan works on the history of religious and cultural relations between the Arab and Latin worlds in the Middle Ages. He received a BA in Classics from Yale, an MA and a PhD in History from the University of Chicago, and an Habilitation à diriger des recherches from the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris. He has taught and lectured in universities in North America, Europe Africa and the Middle East and is currently Professor of History at the University of Nantes.

He was director of a major project funded by the European Research Council, „RELMIN: The legal status of religious minorities in the Euro-Mediterranean world (5th–15th centuries)“ (www.relmin.eu) and is currently co-director of the Institut du Pluralisme Religieux et de l’Athéisme (www.ipra.eu).

Research Concentrations

  • Medieval History
  • Legal history
  • Religious pluralism
  • Jewish/Christian/Muslim relations

Function within the Center

Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Study Konstanz (January–June 2016)

Research project “The King’s Jews: The Jewish Community of England caught up in the conflicts between Henry II and his Clerical and Lay Opponents, 1218–1266”


Petrus Alfonsi and his Medieval Readers (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1993), Les Relations entre les pays d'Islam et le monde latin du milieu du Xème siècle au milieu du XIIIème siècle (Paris: Bréal, 2000)

Saracens: Islam in the Medieval European Imagination (New York: Columbia University Press, 2002)

Sons of Ishmael: Muslims through European Eyes in the Middle Ages (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2008)

Saint Francis and the Sultan: The Curious History of a Christian-Muslim Encounter (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009; French edition published in Paris: Seuil, 2007)

(with Gilles Veinstein and Henry Laurens): Europe and the Islamic World (2012).