Islamic Sicily

Islamic Sicily: texts, literary and linguistic research
Academic director Mirella Cassarino
Administrative director Claudio Lo Jacono

Presentation of the imprint

The imprint of the Istituto per l’Oriente Carlo Alfonso Nallino (IPOCAN) of Rome, bearing the title, “Islamic Sicily: texts, literary and linguistic research”, seeks to promote the publication of new sources in Arabic and translations of texts into Italian (possibly also in English or French), regarding the literary, philological and linguistic history of Islamic Sicily, as well as original research on themes, figures, forms, narrative modes, linguistic variants, Arabic-Sicilian grammatical texts considered – in comparative terms too – in the wider Medieval Maghreb context.
The imprint sits within the tradition of previous studies on Islamic Sicily and takes into account a cultural heritage that is still worthy of exploration, investigation and interpretation. It is configured as an academic point of reference with an international range, through which scholars will make use of the most recent methodologies in the field of linguistic and literary research in order to proved a more organic representation of what is truly a laboratory for research and cultural investigation. The intention is also to publish the results of interesting academic experiences (conferences, study days, panels) that up until now have found their place in various and dispersive publication platforms.
The languages for publication in the imprint are Arabic, Italian, English and French. We also intend to propose to Brill a form of collaboration that will support the Istituto per l’Oriente, which is the founding promoter of the initiative and guarantees autonomy in the academic choices to be made, in the international dissemination of the works.


The proponent

Mirella Cassarino has taught Arabic Language and Literature at the University of Catania since 2001. In 2005, on occasion of the XII Meeting of Hamito-Semitic Linguistics, she was promoter and cofounder, together with Dionisius Agius, Lidia Bettini, Jacques Grand’Henry and Jérôme Lentin, of GIRAS (Groupe International de Recherche sur l’Arabe de Sicile). In this context she organized two panels on Arabic in Sicily, the first (M. Cassarino, C. La Rosa, A. Nef) on occasion of the III Colloque de l’Association Internationale sur le Moyen Arabe regarding “Middle Arabic and Mixed Arabic: An Intentional Choice of Register? Researches on Medieval, Modern and Contemporary Sources”, Florence, 11–14 October 2010, at which she presented a paper with the title, “Les caractéristiques linguistiques des diplômes et des ğarāʾid arabes de Sicile” and the second (M. Cassarino, C. La Rosa, J. Lentin), on occasion of the 14th Meeting of Afroasiatic Linguistics, Turin, 15–17 June 2011, at which she presented a paper with the title “La morphologie verbale de l’arabe de Sicile: problèmes et réflections”. On occasion of the UEAI conference in 2016, which took place in Palermo,she organized, collaborating with A. Ghersetti, a panel (O. Capezio, M. Cassarino, F. Binaghi, F. Grande, C. La Rosa) with the title, “Arab-Sicilian and Andalusian Grammarians” at which she presented a paper with the title “The Art of Correct Usage and Eloquent Speech: al-Zubaydī, Ibn Makkī and Ibn Hishām al-Lakhmī”. She also participated, with an intervention titled “Le relazioni tra Sicilia e al-Andalus in ambito grammaticale: questioni”, in the study days, “Circolazione e trasmissione del pensiero grammaticale arabo in Sicilia e in al-Andalus”, Catania, 4–5 April 2017, organized by Cristina La Rosa, in collaboration with Francesco Grande of Università Ca’ Foscari of Venice.


Among her publications, the following are those pertinent to Islamic Sicily:

Cassarino M., A. Ghersetti (2017), Arab-Sicilian and Andalusian Grammarians: some questions, in M. Cassarino, A. Ghersetti (eds.), “Journal of Arabic and Islamic Literatures”, forthcoming (2018)

Cassarino M. (2017), The Art of Correct Usage and Eloquent Speech: al-Zubaydī, Ibn Makkī and Ibn Hishām al-Lakhmī. In: M. Cassarino, A. Ghersetti (eds.), “Journal of Arabic and Islamic Literatures”, forthcoming (2018)

Cassarino M. (2015), Studies on Islamic Sicily: The Last Fifteen Years. In: Cassarino M. (ed.), Islamic Sicily: Philological and Literary Essays, “Quaderni di StudiArabi”, n.s. 10, p. 3-11. ISSN: 1121-2306

Cassarino M. (2015), Arabic Epistolography in Sicily: The Case of Ibn al-Ṣabbāġ al-Ṣiqillī. In: Cassarino M. (ed.), Islamic Sicily: Philological and Literary Essays. “Quaderni di StudiArabi”, n.s. 10, pp. 123-137. ISSN: 1121-2306

Cassarino M. (2013), Palermo experienced, Palermo imagined. In: A. Nef (ed.), A Companion to Medieval Palermo. Leiden, Brill, pp. 89-132. ISBN: 9789004223929
Cassarino M. (2012), Les caractéristiques linguistiques des diplômes et des ǧarāʾid arabes de Sicile. In : L. Bettini e P. La Spisa (eds.), Le moyen arabe et l’arabe mixte: un choix volontaire de registre? Recherches sur les sources médiévales, modernes et contemporaines. Firenze, Quaderni di Semitistica, pp. 81-108. ISSN: 1724-8213

Cassarino M. (2010), Come rivolgersi all’autorità. I Conforti politici di Ibn Ẓafar il Siciliano. In: A. Ghersetti (ed.), Il potere della parola, la parola del potere tra Europa e Mondo arabo-ottomano tra Medioevo ed Età moderna. Atti della giornata di studio - Venezia 7 novembre 2000. Venezia, Filippi, pp. 26-45. ISBN: 978-88-6495-083-9

Cassarino M. (2007), Una polemica linguistica nel XII secolo: il Radd ʿalà Ibn Makkī di Ibn Hishām al-Lakhmī. In: M. Moriggi (ed.), XII Incontro di Linguistica camito-semitica. Atti, Soveria Mannelli, Rubbettino, pp. 9-24. ISBN: 978-88-498-1956-4

Cassarino M. (1991), Lettere di orientalisti europei a un allievo di Michele Amari. In: Borruso A. (ed.), Michele Amari storico e politico. Atti del Seminario di studi 27-30 novembre 1989. Palermo, Società siciliana per la Storia Patria, pp. 119-159.


Proposal for the first volumes to be published:

C. La Rosa, L’Arabo di Sicilia nel contesto maghrebino: nuove prospettive e nuovi approcci metodologici
I. Licitra, Il madīḥ nella poesia araba di Sicilia
Panel on Arabic-Sicilian literature organized by N. Carpentieri and M. Cassarino for WOCMES in Seville 2018