Mayte Green-Mercado
Toggle caption Photo by Isaac Jimenez

Mayte Green-Mercado Awarded CAORC Research Fellowship for Mediterranean Displacements Project

Mayte Green-Mercado has been selected as one of the nine recipients of the Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC) 2023 Multi-Country Research Fellows. The fellowship, now in its 30th year, supports advanced regional and trans-regional research in the humanities, social sciences, and allied natural sciences for U.S. doctoral candidates and scholars who hold a PhD.  

Green-Mercado, who is an associate professor of history at the School of Arts & Sciences-Newark (SASN), as well as a founding co-director of the Mediterranean Displacements Project at Rutgers-Newark, will be working on a book tracing the emigration of Moriscos—Iberian Muslims forcibly converted to Catholicism and their descendants—in the sixteenth century. In her project abstract, Green-Mercado said “The dispersal of Moriscos that resulted from their expulsion in 1609 from Spain and subsequent resettlement around the Mediterranean is a phenomenon that has received increasing scholarly scrutiny, particularly after the 400th anniversary of the event in 2009. Like the Sephardic Jewish community expelled from Iberia in 1492, the settlement of this ‘Mediterranean diaspora’ of Moriscos in North Africa, Italy, France, the Ottoman Balkans and Anatolia, and the Levant, has been the subject of important scholarship that highlights the challenges and opportunities these groups faced in their host destinations after their expulsion.” 

My book shows that through their interactions with the broader Islamic world, Moriscos were able to constitute communities outside their homeland.

However, far less attention has been paid to the migratory patterns of Moriscos before their 1609 expulsion. Green-Mercado’s project seeks to contribute to this scholarship by proposing a broad examination of Morisco migration and displacements throughout the sixteenth century, beginning with the moment of their forced conversions starting in 1501, until the eve of their expulsion a century later in 1609. 

Green-Mercado has already completed preliminary research for this project in archives and libraries in Spain, France, and the UK. She says that with the support of the CAORC grant, she will be able to further her research in Tunisia and Algeria, two important destinations for Morisco exiles. The grant will also afford her the opportunity to establish professional ties with scholars in both countries through an affiliation with the Centre d’Etudes Maghrébines en Algérie (CEMA) in Oran, Algeria, and the Centre d’Etudes Maghrébines à Tunis (CEMAT), where she will explore opportunities to create a short-term undergraduate study abroad program that will focus on migration, displacement, and refugees through a long historical perspective. 

Speaking about the grant, Green-Mercado said: "This award will support research for my current book project, titled Mediterranean Displacements: Morisco Migration (1501-1608), and I am excited to have the opportunity to conduct critical work in Tunisia and Algeria. My book employs a Mediterranean framework to show that through their interactions with the broader Islamic world, Moriscos were able to constitute communities outside their homeland. Moreover, the social, political, and religious forms of association they forged in exile throughout the Mediterranean also helped shape Morisco life in the Iberian Peninsula.” 

For this competition cycle, nine fellowships have been awarded grants of $12,000 each. The program is funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.  A full list of the 2023 awardees is available on the CAORC website.