Interview with historian Natalie Zemon Davis

Medievalists.net features an interview with Dr. Natalie Zemon Davis, Professor Emeritus of History at Princeton University, who currently teaches at the University of Toronto. Davis is the author of nine books and more than 80 articles, "many of which focus on the social and cultural history of 16th century France.

Her latest work is Trickster Travels: A Sixteenth-Century Muslim Between Worlds, which tells the story of al-Hasan al-Wazzan, a diplomat for the Sultan of Fez who was captured by pirates in 1518, and imprisoned by Pope Leo X. When he converted to Christianity, al-Hasan was released and given a new name: Leo Africanus. For the next decade Leo lived in Italy and worked with Christian scholars. It was during this time that he wrote his Description of Africa, a famous text that would be reprinted throughout Europe. Davis’ book retraces al-Hasan/Leo’s life and how he was able to bridge the two different worlds of Islamic Africa and Christian Europe."