Sarah Davis-Secord

Photo: Sarah Davis-Secord

Associate Professor

Office: Mesa Vista 2092


Ph.D. University of Notre Dame

Research Interests:

Middle Ages, History of the Medieval Mediterranean, Christian-Muslim-Jewish Relations, Medieval Europe and the Islamic World

Research Statement:

 I am a historian of the early and central Middle Ages, particularly interested in intercultural and interreligious relationships within the Mediterranean Sea region. My book, Where Three Worlds Met: Sicily in the Early Medieval Mediterranean (Cornell University Press, 2017) ( explores the intercultural relationships between Greek Christians, Muslims, and Latin Christians in the central Mediterranean through analysis of communications and travel that occurred to and from the island of Sicily. Governed at various times by Greeks, Muslims, and Latins, Sicily was a locus of both contention and communication across the Middle Ages. By understanding the types, reasons, and destinations of travel that took place between Sicily and other regions, we understand more fully the interconnectedness of the Muslim and Christian worlds of the medieval period. At the same time, the book asks historians to reconsider the periodization of Sicily’s history, which has traditionally been separated into Byzantine, Muslim, and Norman periods for study and analysis. By looking across these periods, and thinking about political conquest as a point of union rather than division, I argue that Muslim-Christian interaction and exchange has been a primary constructive element in the history of medieval Sicily and the central Mediterranean.

My second book is about human migration in the premodern Mediterranean ( This small book, intended for a broad audience, examines the variety of motivations that spurred medieval men and women to move homes, despite all the obstacles to migration. Relatedly, I am currently working on a handbook for future research into medieval migration studies, also to be published with Arc Humanities Press.

I am also the co-author a textbook on global medieval history, with Kimberly Klimek, Pamela L. Troyer, and Bryan C. Keene: Global Medieval Contexts 500 – 1500: Connections and Comparisons (Routledge, 2021) (


Dr. Davis-Secord joined UNM’s History Department in 2012. She offers a range of undergraduate and graduate courses on the Middle Ages, particularly of the Mediterranean region, medieval minorities, travel and travelers, and Muslim-Christian interactions. See more at her website:

Recent/Select Publications:

“In Battle and in Bed: Wanton Women and Women Warriors in Muslim and Christian Crusade Narratives,” Gender and History vol 35 (2023): 3-19. DOI: 10.1111/1468-0424.12573. 

“Bearers of Islam: Muslim Women Between Assimilation and Resistance in Christian Sicily” in Gender in the Premodern Mediterranean, ed. Megan Moore (Tempe: Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2019), 63-95. 

“The Past, Present, and Future of Norman Rule in Apulia: Roger II’s Silver Ducalis” in Rethinking Norman Italy: Studies in Honour of Graham A. Loud, ed. Joanna Drell and Paul Oldfield (Manchester University Press, 2021), 284-304.   

Interfaith Relationships and Perceptions of the Other in the Medieval Mediterranean: Essays in Honor of Olivia Remie Constable, eds. Sarah Davis-Secord, Belen Vicens, and Robin Vose (Palgrave Macmillan, 2021). 

Sarah Davis-Secord, Migration in the Medieval Mediterranean (Arc Humanities Press, 2021). 

Kimberly Klimek, Pamela L. Troyer, Sarah Davis-Secord, and Bryan C. Keene: Global Medieval Contexts 500 – 1500: Connections and Comparisons (Routledge, 2021). 

Sarah Davis-Secord, Three Worlds Met: Sicily in the Early Medieval Mediterranean (Cornell University Press, 2017).


2023 Fellowship for Faculty, National Endowment for the Humanities.

2023 Residential Fellowship for year at the Institute for Advanced Study.

2019 Dionisus A. Agius Prize, Cornell University Press , Society of Medieval Mediterrnean Studies

Philip Gleason Prize, Department of History, University of Notre Dame, for Best Completed Dissertation of the Year  

 Frederic C. Lane Dissertation Grant, Medieval Academy of America


Western Civilization I, to 1648
Early Middle Ages
Ancient and Late Antique Rome
Medieval Mediterranean
Medieval Women in Text and Film
Medieval Travel and Travelers
Medieval Minorities