RONALD A. MESSIER
Ph.D. (History) University of Michigan, 1972.
M.A. (History) University of Michigan, 1968.
B.A. (History) University of Rhode Island, 1966.
Professor Emeritus, Middle Tennessee State University
Co-Director, Aghmat Project (Archaeological Excavation in Moroco).
Vanderbilt University, Senior Lecturer in History, 2005-2008.
Middle Tennessee State University, Professor of History and Historical Archaeology, 1972-2004.
Vanderbilt University, Adjunct Professor of History and Religious Studies, 1993-2004.
Middle Tennessee State University, Director of University Honors Program, 1980-1991.
European Cultural History Program (Summer travel program in Europe and the Middle East) through Eastern Michigan University, summers 1975-1983.
Eastern Michigan University, 1970-1972.
From 1988 to 1998 I was project director of the Moroccan-American Project at Sijilmasa (MAPS). We completed six seasons of archaeological research; we organized a traveling exhibit of the findings during the spring and summer 1999. In 2005, I started a new project in Morocco, The Moroccan-American Project in Aghmat (MAPA) which consists of the archaeological study of the medieval the medieval city of Aghmat (the forerunner of Marrakech) and its context . I retired from Vanderbilt University at the end of the 2008 academic year. I continue to direct the archaeological project at Aghmat under the sponsorship of the Moroccan Ministry of Culture and the Aghmat Foundation. In August 2010, I published a monograph The Almoravids and the Meanings of Jihad with Praeger Press, and in November, 2010, I published Jesus: One Man, Two Faiths—A Dialogue between Christians and Muslims. The Last Civilized Place: Sijilmasa and its Saharan Destiny, co-authored by James Miller was published by the University of Texas Press in 2015. A French edition, La dernière cité aux portes du désert: Sijilmassa et son destin saharien, was released by Éditions La Croisée des Chemins in 2020.
Jihad and Its Times. Co-edited with Hadia Dajani-Shakeel. Ann Arbor: Michigan Center Series on the Middle East, IV, Center for Near East and North African Studies, 1992.
The Worlds of Ibn Khaldun, an edited collection of essays that appeared as a special edition of the Journal of North African Studies, September 2008.
The Almoravids and the Meaning of Jihad, Praeger Press, August, 2010.
Jesus: One Man, Two Faiths—A Dialogue between Christians and Muslims, Twin Oaks Press, 2010.
Sijilmasa—The Last Civilized Place, co-authored with James Miller, The University of Texas Press in 2015.
La dernière cité aux portes du désert: Sijilmassa e don destin saharien, Éditions La Croisé des Chemins, 2020.
The Mapmaker and the Pope, a novel, Twin Oaks Press, 2021.
Chapters in Books (refereed).
“Rethinking The Almoravids: Rethinking Ibn Khaldun,” in North Africa, Islam and the Mediterranean World, from the Almoravids to the Algerian War, ed. Julia Clancy Smith, London: Frank Cass, 2001.
“Re-Reading Texts through Multi-Disciplinary Glasses.” The Maghrib in Question. Ed. Kenneth J. Perkins. Austin: The University of Texas Press, 1997.
“The Christian Community of Tunis at the Time of St. Louis’ Crusade.” The Meeting of Two Worlds. Ed. Vladimir P. Goss, Kalamazoo: Medieval Institute Publications, 1986.
Chapters in Books (unrefereed).
“Sijilmasa: l’intermédiaire entre la Méditerranée et l’Ouest de l’Afrique,” L’Occident Musulman et l’Occident Chrétien au Moyen Age. Ed. Mohammed Hammam. Rabat:Publications de a Faculté des Lettres, 1995.
“The Almoravids and Holy War,” Jihad and its Times. Co-editors Hadia Dajani-Shakeel and Ronald A. Messier. Ann Arbor: Michigan Center Series on the Middle East, IV, Center for Near East and North African Studies, 1992.
“Selection Criteria and Methods of Utilizing Audio Visual Resources.” The Middle East, the Image and the Reality. Ed. Jonathan Friedlander. Berkeley: University of California, 1980.
“The Almoravids.” Encyclopedia of Islam. 3rd edition.
“The Bani Abd al-Wadid.” Encyclopedia of Islam, 3rd edition.
“Rethinking the Almoravids.” The Journal of North African Studies VI no. 1 (Spring, 2001): 59-80.
“Sijilmasa: Five Seasons of Archaeological Inquiry by a Joint Moroccan-American Mission.” Archéologie Islamique, 7 (1997): 61-92.
“Quantitative Analysis of Almoravid Dinars.” Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 23 (1980): 102-118.
“The Almoravids and West African Gold.” Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 17 (1974): 31-47.
“The Earliest Ceramics of Sijilmasa,” co-authored with Abdallah Fili, in La Céramique maghrébine du haut moyen age (VIIIe-Xe siècle), état des recherches, problèmes et perspectives, Etudes réunies par Patrice Cressieer et Elizabeth Fentress, Collection de l’Ecole française de Rome # 446, 2011.
“Listening for Silences’ in Sijilmasa’s History,” presented at Moroccan History Days, Al-Akhawayn University, Ifrane Morocco, Nov. 22-24, 2004. Published in the conference proceedings, June 2006.
“Le Hammam d’Aghmat,” In the conference proceedings of Trente Années d’Archéologie Marocaine (forthcoming).
“The Transformation of Sijilmasa,” in Hommages Luigi Serra, Naples, 2005; a monograph honoring a well known Italian archaeologist and scholar of North Africa.
Twenty page introduction for Morocco section of Enciclopedia Archaeologica. Rome, 2002.
Four page article on Sijilmasa for volume listed above.
“La ville caravannière de Sijilmasa: du mythe historique à la réalité archéologique.” Co-authored with Abdallah Fili at the University of Lyon, France, in La Ciudad en al-Andalus y el-Maghreb, Algeciras: Fundacion el legado andalusi, 2002, 501-510.
“Sijilmasa, an Archaeological Study–1992.” Bulletin d’Archéologie Marocaine XIX (202): 257-91.
“The Grand Mosque of Sijilmasa: the evolution of a structure from the Mosque of ibn And Allah to the Restoration by Sidi Mohammed ben Abdallah.” L’architecture de terre en Mediterranée. Ed. Mohammed Hammam (Colloques et Seminaires, 80, Rabat: Universite Mohammed V, Publications de la Faculté des Lettres et des Sciences Humaines 1999), 287-296.
“Le Plan de Sijilmasa Révélé par (GIS).” Actes des Premiers Journées d’Archéologie et du Patrimoine, Ed. Mohammad Hammam (Rabat: Publications de la Faculté des Lettres, Université Mohammed V, 1997), 99-107.
“Sijilmasa: l’intermédiaire entre la Méditerranée et l’Ouest de l’Afrique.” L’Occident Musulman et l’Occident Chrétien au Moyen Age. Ed. Mohammed Hammam (Rabat: Publications de la Faculté des Lettres, 1995), 181-196.
“Local Economy and Long Distance Trade in Medieval Sijilmasa.” Usur al-Wusta (April, 1993): 1-[4;6].
“Moroccan-American Expedition to Sijilmasa, Morocco.” National Geographic Research 13 (Spring, 1991): 134.
Postat Systems in the Pre-Modern Islamic World. By Adam J. Silverstein in The Historian (2009).
Excavations at Surt (Medinat al-Sultan) between 1977 and 1981. By Geza Fechérvari, Bbas Hamdani, Masoud Shaghlouf, Hal bishop and contributions by John Riley, Muhammad Hamid and Ted Hughs, ed. Elizabeth Savage, in Journal of Libyan Studies (2003).
Popular Preaching & Religious Authority in the Medieval Islamic Near East. By Jonathan P. Berkey, in The Historian (2002).
Empire and Elites after the Muslim Conquest: The Transformation of Northern Mesopotamia. By Chase F. Robinson, in The Historian (2002).
Ibn Khaldun and the Medieval Maghrib, by Michael Brett, in Middle East Studies Association Bulletin, 2001.
Timbuctu and the Songhay Empire by John Hunwick, In The International Journal of African Historical Studies, 2000.
Recherches Archéologiques sur le capitale de l’empire de Ghana… by Sophie Beriter In The International Journal of African Historical Studies, 2000.
Riding to Jerusalem by Bettina Selby. In Middle East Materials for Teachers, Students, and the Non-Specialist. Ed. Catherine Jones, Center for Middle East Studies, Harvard University, 1988.
Soldiers of the Faith: Crusaders and Moslems at War by Ronald C. Finucane. In Materials for Teachers, Students, and the Non-Specialist. Ed. Catherine Jones, Center for Middle East Studies, Harvard University, 1988.
Corpus of Early Arabic Source for West African History by Nehemia Levtzion and J.F.P. Hopkins, Eds. In The Middle East Studies Association Bulletin, Spring, 1983.
CONFERRENCE PAPERS (refereed).
“Midrarid Origins of Sijilmasa,” presented at the Annual AIMS (American Institute for Maghribi Studies) conference in Tunis, Tunisia, May 2005.
“From Sijilmasa to Seville: the Almoravids adapt, adopt, and transform an urban landscape,” presented at the annual World History Conference, Ifrane Morocco, June 2005.
“Listening for Silences’ in Sijilmasa’s History,” presented at Moroccan History Days, Al-Akhawayn University, Ifrane Morocco, Nov. 22-24, 2004.
“Sijilmasa: the Myth and Reality of an African Eldorado.” Medieval Academy of America, New York City, April, 2003.
“Orientalist Images of Sijilmasa,” Middle East Studies Association of North America, Orlando, November, 2000. Note: this is the major, national annual meeting for all disciplines in Middle East Studies.
“Mapping Sijilmasa, Revealing the Urban Grid,” Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec, January, 2000. Note: this is the major, national annual meeting for historical archaeology.
“The Sijilmasa Mosque.” International Conference on Adobe Architecture sponsored by Mohammed V University in Rabat, Morocco: November, 1996.
“The Grand Mosque of Sijilmasa–Four Stages of Development.” Middle East Studies Association, Providence, RI: November 1996.
“Le role de Sijilmasa comme intermédaire entre la Méditerranée et l’ouest Afrique.” International Conference on the Medieval Western Mediterranean sponsored by Mohammed V University in Rabat, Morocco: November, 1994.
“Special Session on Sijilmasa.” The Middle East Studies Association, Research Triangle, NC: November, 1993.
“In Search of Medieval Sijilmasa–the Archaeological Record.” The Middle East Studies Association, Portland, Oregon: October 1992.
“Sijilmasa–Testing an Historical Model through Archaeology.” Earthwatch Annual Conference, Boston, MA: March 1991.
“Sijilmasa–the Archeology of an Islamic City.” Université Moulay Ali Cherif, Rissani, Morocco: December 1990.
“Re-Reading Texts through Multi-Disciplinary Glasses.” AIMS Conference in Oran, Algeria: June 5-9, 1989.
“The Christian Community of Tunis at the Time of St. Louis’ Crusade, A.D. 1270.”
International Symposium: Cultural Exchange Between East and West During the Period of the Crusades, Kalamazoo, Michigan: Spring, 1981.
“State of the Art–Teaching Medieval North African History.” Middle East Studies Association, Salt Lake City, Utah: Fall, 1979.
CONFERRENCE PAPERS AND LECTURES (selected and unrefereed).
“Projet archéologique de Sijiolmasa: synthèse et résultats,” and Les fouilles archéologique à Aghmat,” Presented at Journée d’étude en hommage à Ronald A. Merssier, Organisée par La Bibliothèque Nationale du Royaume du Maroc & La Commission maroco-américaine pour l’Echange Educatif et Culturel, May 24, 2011.
“Jesus: One Man, Two Faiths—A Dialogue between Christians and Muslims, International Instutute of Islamic Thought, Herdon, VA, March 18, 2011.
“Le hammam d’Aghmat—découvertes récentes,” Presented at the Royal Center for Amazigh
Studies in Rabat, Morocco, July 28, 2007.
“Le Hammam d’Aghmat,” presented at the Colloquium Honoring Mme. Benslimane, Trente Années d’Archéologie Marocaine. December, 2005.
“Sijilmasa: “Sijilmasa: du mythe historique à la réalité archéologique.” At the Center for Alawite Studies and Research, Rissani Morocco, and at the Maghreb Arab Presse (MAP) Rabat, Morocco, May 2004.
“The City Plan of Sijilmasa Revealed by GIS.” Les Premiers Jours d’Archéolgie Marocaine, Rabat, July 1-4, 1998.
“The African Gold Trade from Romans to Arabs.” The Parthenon Lecture Series, Nashville, Tennessee: November, 1995.
“The Archaeology of Sijilmasa.” Vanderbilt University: November 1992; Northeastern University, February 1993; Old Dominion University, March 1993.
“Local Agriculture and Water Resources of Medieval Sijilmasa.” Earthwatch Annual Conference, Boston, MA: February 1993.
Invited speaker at the Symposium on Saharan Archaeology, Northwestern University: April 8, 1989.
“Sijilmasa, Nerve Center of the Medieval Gold Trade.” American Archaeological Society, Nashville Chapter, Vanderbilt University: December 13, 1988.
“Sijilmasa – Report of the First Season of Excavation,” Morocco Forum at Harvard University: December 9, 1988.
“The Search for Sijilmasa – One Year Later.” Transylvania University: November 17, 1988.
“An Historical and Archaeological Survey of Sijilmasa.” Morocco Forum at Harvard University: December 4, 1987.
“The Search for Sijilmasa – Nerve Center of the Medieval Gold Trade.” South East Regional Middle East and Islamic Studies Seminar, Boone, NC: September 2, 1987.
“The Relationship of the Term ‘Almoravid’ to the Concept of the Jihad.” Presented in honor of the retirement of Professor Andrew S. Ehrenhreutz at the University of Michigan: May 30, 1987.
“The Almoravids.” South East Regional Middle East and Islamic Studies Seminar, Fall, 1986.
“Daily Life of Medieval Mediterranean Jews.” Guest Lecture at Purdue University, Spring, 1986.
“Scientific Analysis of Coins.” History Department Seminar, University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire: Fall, 1982.
GRANTS AND AWARDS
Honored by the Moroccan-American Commission for Educational and Cultural Exchange as one of two Americans who contributed most to the objectives of the Commission, Thirty Year Anniversary Celebration, November 29, 2012.
Journée d’étude en hommage à Ronald A. Messier, Organisée par La Bibliothèque Nationale du Royaume du Maroc & La Commission maroco-américaine pour l’Echange Educatif et Culturel, May 24, 2011.
Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation, 2008-09.
Fulbright Serial Grant for Research in Morocco 2006, 07, 08.
American Institute for Maghrib Studies (AIMS) Extended Research Grant 2006, 07, 08
MTSU Summer Research Grant: 2004.
MTSU Non Instructional Assignment, Fall 2003.
MTSU Summer Research Grant: 2003.
MTSU Summer Research Grant: 2001.
MTSU Summer Research Grant: 1998.
Earthwatch Grant: 1998.
MTSU Outstanding Research Award: 1997.
MTSU Summer Research Grant: 1997.
MTSU Summer Research Grant: 1996.
MTSU Instructional Technology Grant: Summer 1996.
MTSU Non Instructional Assignment: Spring, 1996.
Earthwatch Grant: 1996.
MTSU Summer Research Grant: 1995.
National Geographic Research Grant: 1994.
Earthwatch Grant: 1994.
Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) 1993 Tennessee Professor of the Year.
Earthwatch Grant: 1993.
Fulbright Serial Grant: 1992-1994.
Max Van Berchem Foundation Grant: 1992.
National Geographic Research Grant: 1992.
Earthwatch Grant: 1992.
MTSU Non-Instructional Assignment: Fall, 1988.
National Geographic Research Grant: 1988.
Social Science Research Council Fellowship: 1988.
American Institute for Maghribi Studies Grant: 1987.
MTSU Faculty Research Grant: 1987.
MTSU Outstanding Honors Faculty Award: 1978.
MTSU Outstanding Teacher Award: 1976.
Fulbright-Hays Fellowship in Tunisia: 1969-1970.
National Defense Language Fellowships: 1966-67, 1967-68, 1968-69.
Sijilmasa Caravan, Civil Rights Museum, Birmingham, Alabama, April, 1999; Memphis in May, May, 1999; The Parthenon, Nashville, TN, June-July, 1999.
PUBLIC AND PROFESSIONAL SERVICE:
Approximately one hundred and fifty public service talks about Islam and/or the Middle East to various local and regional civic organizations, educational institutions and churches since 9/11/01.
Approximately twenty-five lectures on interfaith dialogue issues, including three in Morocco in 2012 at the invitation of the US Department of State as part of their initiative in interfaith dialogue.
President of the Southeast Regional Middle East and Islamic Studies Seminar (SERMEISS). 2008-2012.
President of the advisory board, Society of Universal Dialogue, Nashville, TN 2008- present.
Conference Organizer for the 2006 AIMS Conference on the theme “The Worlds of Ibn Khaldun,” in Tangier, June 8-10, 2006.
Faculty Research Committee, Department of History, Middle Tennessee State University:1992-1995, 1997-2000.
Faculty Advisor to Phi Alpha Theta (Honorary History Society), Middle Tennessee State University: 1995-2001.
Coauthored grants for, codirected and taught numerous outreach workshops for SERMEISS 1981, 1991, 1994, 1995.
Executive Secretary for the Southeast Regional Middle East and Islamic Studies Seminar (SERMEISS) 1982-92.
Coauthored grant for and codirected Fulbright Group Study Abroad Project in Israel and Egypt for Pre-Collegiate teachers, Summer, 1983.
Guest lecturer on Islamic art and archaeology for National Geographic, The Archaeological Institute of America, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Smithsonian Institution, the National Textile Museum, The Chicago Art Institute, and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art and Archaeology Magazine.
Tour study leader on tours over 25 tours to: Morocco, Tunisia, Spain, Mali, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Syria,Turkey, Oman and Uzbekistan.
American Institute for Magribi Studies (AIMS).
South East Regional Middle East and Islamic Studies Seminar (SERMEISS).
LANGUAGES: English, French, Arabic