The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded History Professor Simon Doubleday a coveted twelve-month fellowship for his project “Christian Spain before the Crusades: Power and Pragmatism in Eleventh Century Iberia”.
Under the auspices of the award, Dr. Doubleday is planning to research and write a book on relations between the eleventh-century realm of León, in northwestern Spain, and the Islamic realms of al-Andalus in the south of the Iberian peninsula. Medieval Europe is often seen as a theater of implacable holy war between Christians and Muslims. His new book will reassess this assumption through a detailed study of the kingdom of León, which also included parts of modern Portugal, under King Fernando I (1037-65) and his highly cultured queen, Sancha (d. 1067).
Dr. Doubleday’s research interests focus on medieval Iberia. He is the author of The Wise King: A Christian Prince, Muslim Spain, and the Birth of the Renaissance, a 2016 biography of Alfonso el Sabio which the Daily Telegraph described as “a fascinating journey into an unfamiliar realm”. His earlier book, The Lara Family (2001), won Hofstra University’s Lawrence A. Stessin Prize for Outstanding Scholarly Publication. He has also co-edited several volumes of essays, including Why the Middle Ages Matter (2011), Border Interrogations (2011), and In the Light of Medieval Spain (2008). He has previously served as president of the Academy of Research Historians of Medieval Spain and is founding editor of the Journal of Medieval Iberian Studies. He is currently completing a video lecture series called “After the Plague: How Europe Rose from the Black Death.”
The NEH is an independent federal agency created in 1965. This year, it awarded $30.9 million in grants to support 188 humanities projects. The NEH reports that in this highly competitive funding cycle, it funded eight percent of the fellowship proposals that it received.