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Dr Alex Metcalfe

Senior Lecturer

Lancaster University

Bowland College



Tel: +44 1524 592548

Research overview

Research Interests

Publications (books, authored and edited)

  • The Making of Medieval Sardinia, edited with H. Fernandez-Aceves and M. Muresu [The Medieval Mediterranean Series, vol. 128] (Leiden: Brill, 2021). 520 pages. ISBN: 978-90-04-46448-3. 
  • I musulmani dell’Italia medievale (Palermo: Officina di Studi medievali, 2019). Revised, updated, and expanded monograph in Italian. Translation by Francesco Barone. Preface by Ferdinando Maurici. 314 pages. ISBN: 978-88-6485-125-9. 
  • The Book in Fact and Fiction in Pre-Modern Arabic Literature (2012), online publication, edited with Antonella Ghersetti. ISSN: 0806-198X. 263 pages.
  • The Muslims of Medieval Italy (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2009). 352 pages. ISBN 978-0-7486-2007-4. Paperback 978-0-7486-2008-1.
  • Muslims and Christians in Norman Sicily. Arabic Speakers and the End of Islam (London and New York: Routledge, 2003). 286 pages. ISBN 0-7007-1685-8. Paperback: 978-0-415-61644-7.
  • The Society of Norman Italy, edited with Graham A. Loud (Leiden: Brill, 2002). 381 pages. ISBN 9004125418. 

Publications (articles etc):

  • ‘Historiography in the making: a name-list of Sicilian Muslims from the Rollus Rubeus cartulary of Cefalù cathedral’, in Rethinking Norman Italy: Studies in Honour of Graham A. Loud, eds Joanna H. Drell and Paul Oldfield (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2021), pp. 46–92.
  • ‘Early Muslim raids on Sardinia’, in The Making of Medieval Sardinia, eds A. Metcalfe, H. Fernandez-Aceves and M. Muresu (Leiden: Brill, 2021), pp. 126–159.
  • ‘Muslim contacts with Sardinia: from Fatimid Ifrīqiya to Mujāhid of Dénia’, in The Making of Medieval Sardinia, eds A. Metcalfe, H. Fernandez-Aceves and M. Muresu (Leiden: Brill, 2021), pp. 240–267. 
  • ‘The making of medieval Sardinia: a historiographical introduction’, with H. Fernandez-Aceves and M. Muresu in The Making of Medieval Sardinia, eds A. Metcalfe, H. Fernandez-Aceves and M. Muresu (Leiden: Brill, 2021), pp. 1–16.
  • ‘Discovery, invention and supposition. Three case studies from medieval Sardinia’, with H. Fernandez-Aceves and M. Muresu, in The Making of Medieval Sardinia, eds A. Metcalfe, H. Fernandez-Aceves and M. Muresu (Leiden: Brill, 2021), pp. 
  • 'Islam in premodern Italy', in the Encyclopaedia of Islam3, Part 2022-2, (2020), pp. 56–59. 
  • ‘Before the Normans: identity and societal formation in Muslim Sicily’, in Sicily, Heritage of the World, eds Dirk Booms and Peter Higgs (London: The British Museum Research Publication Series, 2019), pp. 102–119.
  • ‘Norman identity and the anonymous Historia Sicula’ (with John Aspinwall), in Sicily, Heritage of the World, eds Dirk Booms and Peter Higgs (London: The British Museum Research Publication Series, 2019), pp. 133–141.
  • ‘Messaging and memory: notes from medieval Ifrīqiya and Sicily', in Sicily, al-Andalus and the Maghreb: Writing in Times of Turmoil, a special issue of The Medieval Globe 5/1 (2019), eds Carol Symes and Nicola Carpentieri, pp. 87–104.
  • ‘Language and the written record: loss, survival and revival in early Norman Sicily’, in Multilingual and multigraphic manuscripts and documents of East and West, eds. Giuseppe Mandalà and Inmaculada Pérez Martín, (Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press, 2018), pp. 3–31. ISBN: 978-1-4632-0283-5.
  • Prefazione for La moneta come indicatore dell’assetto insediativo della Sardegna bizantina (VI-XI secolo), by Marco Muresu (Morlacchi: Perugia, 2018). 
  • ‘Idronimia e gestione dell’acqua nella Sicilia arabo-normanna occidentale’, in Sa Massarìa: Ecologia storica dei sistemi di lavoro contadino in Sardegna, eds. Giovanni Serreli, Rita T. Melis, Charles French and Federica Sulas (Cagliari, 2017), pp. 529–578.
  • ‘Dynamic landscapes and dominant kin groups: hydronymy and water-management in Arab-Norman western Sicily’, in Urban dynamics and transcultural communication in medieval Sicily, eds Theresa Jäckh and Mona Kirsch (Heidelberg, 2017), pp. 127–167.
  • ‘The real Król Roger’. Programme notes for the Royal Opera House production of Szymanowski's Król Roger (May, 2015), pp. 24–31.
  • Transkultureller und sozio-religiöser Wandel im muslimischen und frühen normannischen Sizilien in Siziliens Geschichte: Insel zwischen den Welten, eds Wolfgang Gruber and Stephan Köhler (Vienna: Mandalbaum, 2013), pp. 68–98. ISBN: 978385476-422-9.
  • 'Forgotten Connections: Material Culture and Exchange in the Central and Western Mediterranean, 7th–13th Centuries', with Mariam Rosser-Owen, in Forgotten Connections eds A. Metcalfe and M. Rosser-Owen, a special issue of Al-Masāq: Islam and the Medieval Mediterranean, 25/1 (2013), pp. 1–8. ISSN 0950-3110.
  • ‘Orientation in three spheres: medieval Mediterranean boundary clauses in Latin, Greek and Arabic’, Transactions of the Royal Historical Society 22, (2012), pp. 37–55. DOI: 10.1017/S0080440112000059
  • Journal of Arabic and Islamic Studies 11 (2011) editor. www.lancs.ac.uk/jais/volume/volume11.htm
  • Journal of Arabic and Islamic Studies 10 (2010) editor. www.lancs.ac.uk/jais/volume/volume10.htm
  • ‘The Lands of Twelfth-Century Corleone’, ‘The Christians of Twelfth-Century Corleone’ and ‘Extracts from the Travels of Ibn Jubayr’ in Medieval Italy: Texts in Translation, eds. K. Jansen, J. Drell and F. Andrews (Richmond: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009), 65–70 and 234–40. ISBN: 978-0812241648.
  • Journal of Arabic and Islamic Studies 9 (2009), editor. www.lancs.ac.uk/jais/volume/volume9.htm
  • ‘Sicilian Arabic’ in The Encyclopaedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics, 4 vols, eds K. Versteegh, M. Eid, A. Elgibali, M. Woidich and A. Zaborski (Leiden: Brill, 2009), iv, pp. 215–19. ISBN: 978-90-04-14476-7.
  • Journal of Arabic and Islamic Studies 8 (2008), ed. with Joseph N. Bell and Lutz Edzard. www.lancs.ac.uk/jais/volume/volume8.htm
  • ‘Trusting the text as far as we can throw the scribe: further notes on reading a bilingual jarīdat al-ḥudūd from the royal dīwān of Norman Sicily’ in From Al-Andalus to Khurasan: Documents from the Medieval Muslim World, eds P. M. Sijpesteijn, L. Sundelin, S. Torallas Tovar, and A. Zomeño, [Islamic History and Civilization Series: Studies and Texts, vol. 66], (Leiden: Brill, 2007), pp. 78–98. ISBN: 90-04-15567-8.
  • Under-Age Rule in the Medieval Islamic World (2007) editor. Themed volume of Al-Masāq: Islam and the Medieval Mediterranean 19/1 (2007), with editor’s introduction. ISSN 0950-3110.
  • Journal of Arabic & Islamic Studies 7 (2007) editor (with Joseph N. Bell). www.lancs.ac.uk/jais/volume/volume7.htm
  • Review of Sheila S. Blair, Islamic Inscriptions (Edinburgh, 1998) in The British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 32, (2005), 138–9. Review of Jeremy Johns, Arabic Administration in Norman Sicily: The Royal Dīwān (Cambridge, 2002) in The English Historical Review 119, (2004), pp. 118–20.
  • ‘The Muslims of Sicily under Christian Rule’ in The Society of Norman Italy eds. Graham A. Loud and Alex Metcalfe (Leiden: Brill, 2002), pp. 289–317. ISBN: 9004125418.
  • De Saracenico in Latinum Transferri: Causes and Effects of Translation in the Fiscal Administration of Norman Sicily’, Al-Masāq: Islam and the Medieval Mediterranean 13 (2001), pp. 43–86. ISSN: 0950-3110.
  • ‘The Mystery at Chúrchuro: Conspiracy or Incompetence in Twelfth-Century Sicily?’ (with Jeremy Johns), Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 62/2 (1999), pp. 226–59. ISSN: 0041-977X. 

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