Program Details

Medieval Multiculturalism: Norman Sicily Between East and West

Anne-Marie Bouché

Course Description

We are all familiar with the Norman Conquest of England in 1066.  Less familiar perhaps is the Norman conquest of Sicily. There, in the 12th century, a dynasty only a few generations removed from their Viking pagan ancestors created, for a time, a Christian kingdom in Europe that deliberately fostered multiculturalism as a strategy for governance. Under Roger II and his successors, the Norman kingdom of Sicily not only tolerated, but actively embraced Western Latin and Orthodox Greek-speaking Christians as well as Muslims and even Jews. This presentation will show how Norman rulers drew on Byzantine, Latin and Islamic traditions to embody their vision of a multicultural society in a series of spectacular monuments.

About the Instructor

  • Anne-Marie Bouché, Ph.D., is an associate professor of art history at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers. Her scholarly specialty is the art of medieval Europe, but she also has extensive experience teaching advanced courses across the curriculum both at the university level and for general audiences. She earned her master's degree in library science from UC Berkeley and worked for several years as director of Rare Books and Special Collections for Mills College in Oakland, CA, before earning her doctoral degree in medieval art history from Columbia University. She worked as an assistant professor of medieval art for nine years at Princeton University, taught at Columbia University, and worked as a staff lecturer for The Cloisters Museum in New York. Her publications focus on the generation of meaning through form, primarily in Medieval manuscript illumination and sculpture. She also co-edited and published an article in The Mind's Eye: Art and Theological Argument in the Middle Ages, (Princeton University Press, 2005).