The Sultan and the Queen: The Untold Story of Queen Elizabeth and Islam

This is a 10-week seminar, starting on September 26th, 2017.

Moderator:                 Joan Wofford
Day and Time:          Tuesday 10:00AM-Noon
Location:                    Lathrop Meeting Room, Northampton
                                         (free parking on site)

The purpose of this seminar is to explore different facets of the recently published history of Islam’s powerful involvement in the arts and politics of Elizabethan England, a movement initiated by Elizabeth who after being excommunicated by the Pope, sought allies against Catholic Spain and trading partners for her merchants.

After reading the central text, The Sultan and the Queen: The Untold Story of Elizabeth and Islam, participants will be asked to choose a topic that interests them and prepare a presentation which will extend their own and the class’s understanding of this rich and fascinating history when Elizabeth sent an emissary to the shah of Iran, wooed the king of Morocco, and entered into an alliance with the Ottoman Sultan. The impact on England was immediate. Elizabeth became hooked on sugar, ruining her teeth. By the 1580s, thousands of merchants were engaged in trade, financed by the first joint stock company, and between 1588 and 1599 more than 60 plays featuring the Moors were written for the London stage.

Role of participants:
To read the central text, choose something of interest: an individual such as the explorer Anthony Jenkinson, a city (Fez, Marrakesh, Constantinople), foreign trade, or a drama (such as Timburlane, Othello). There will be a wide choice of topics.

Jerry Brotton’s The Sultan and the Queen: The Untold Story of Elizabeth and Islam, Viking, 2016

About the Moderator(s):
Joan Wofford has offered 2 seminars a year for the past 8 years, frequently exploring a little known part of the world or of history.

Maximum number of participants: 15

Emeritus/a accepted: yes, up to 2