Richmond Professor joins forces with former student to re-think religion and empire

Dr Dominic Alessio, Professor of History at Richmond has teamed up with a former student, Lucas Villegas-Aristizábal to publish an article in the Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies, entitled, ‘Re-thinking Religion and Empire: Non-State Organizations from the Knights Hospitallers to ISIS’.

The abstract for the article states that:

‘This work suggests that empires do not have to be state-led by arguing that religious-political organisations can also create their own imperial demesnes. Moreover, it argues that there are additional ways for empires to expand other than conquest (through gift, purchase and lease), and that empires do not have to be large.

By drawing attention to a variety of players and methods of expansion it re-thinks our understanding of what empires are. It focuses upon the history of the Medieval Knights of St John who formed autonomous states on Rhodes and Malta; yet to underscore the continuing significance of this religious-imperial nexus it also briefly draws attention to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria in the Middle East.’

Dr Alessio said, “Lucas is an alum who I taught at Richmond the first year I started, in 2000, and who went on to do a PhD in History at Nottingham University on the Crusades.  I’m absolutely delighted to have been able to work with Lucas on this article 20 years later, it’s testament to the strong bonds forged between students and faculty here at Richmond.”