University of Malta

Professor Carmel Cassar
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Carmel Cassar was awarded an ODA (full) Scholarship by the Cambridge Commonwealth Trust to read Anthropology, a Holland Rose Scholarship from the Faculty of History (Cambridge), and several other studentships and bursaries by Cambridge institutions. He was Visiting post-doctoral Fellow at the University of Durham; a University of Wales Visiting Research Fellow, a Mary Aylwin Cotton Foundation Fellow (Channel Islands), a Jesuit Historical Institute Fellow, Rome (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007) besides receiving other post-doctoral awards. He was also responsible for the development of an Ethnography Section within the Malta Museums Department and was the person behind the rehabilitation of the Inquisitor’s Palace in Vittoriosa as a proper functioning museum between 1992 and 1999.
His research interests are cultural history and historical anthropology of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries - popular religion, witchcraft, gender, ethnic identity, social structures, food and cultural values in the Mediterranean, Italy and Malta.

Carmel Cassar is responsible for setting up the Slowfood Movement Chapter in Malta, which is a joint activity between the Institute for Tourism, Travel & Culture at the University of Malta and the Institute of Tourism Studies. He is in fact the Convivium Leader for Slow Food Malta, which is based at the ITTC.

He is the Chairman of the newly set-up, Programme for Mediterranean Culinary Culture.


Ph.D in History - University of Cambridge.
M.Phil in Social Anthropology - University of Cambridge.
BA in History and Italian - University of Malta, Malta.

Books and Monographs 

2003: Honour and Shame in the Mediterranean. Midsea Books, Malta (2003) English edition (2003) 74pp; Italian edition: Il Senso Dell’Onore (2002) pp.91. Editoriale Jaca book, Milan; Spanish edition: Honor y vergüenza en el Mediterráneo (2004) pp.98. CIDOB-Icaria, Barcellona; Arabic edition : Le sens de l’honneur (2004) Alif Tunis; French edition: L’Honneur et la Honte en Méditerranée (2005) pp.85. Editions Edisud, Aix-en-Provence 

2002: Daughters of Eve. Women, Gender Roles, and the Impact of the Council of Trent in Catholic Malta. Mireva Publications. Malta.

2000/2002: A Concise History of Malta. Mireva Publications. Malta. 

2000: Society, Culture and Identity in Early Modern Malta. Mireva Publications. Malta. 

2000: Sex, Magic and the Periwinkle. A Trial at the Malta Inquisition Tribunal in 1617. PIN Publications, Malta.


1996:  Witchcraft, Sorcery and the Inquisition. A Study of Cultural Values in Early Modern Malta.  Mireva Publications. Malta.


1994: Fenkata. An Emblem of Maltese Peasant Resistance? Ministry of Youth & the Arts. Malta.



2007: Text for the portfolio Eating Through Time: The Culture of Food in the Mediterranean, in the series Mediterranean Cultural and Artistic Impressions published by Mediterranean Cultural Encounters Ltd. The artwork was carried out by Anthony Calleja. The Preface was written by Gianni Ferrero of Slow Food Movement Monregalese (Piedmont), Italy. 


2005: Text for a portfolio entitled The Hospitaller Order of St. John in Malta 1530 – 1798, in the series Mediterranean Cultural and Artistic Impressions published by Mediterranean Cultural Encounters Ltd.  The artwork was carried out by Anthony Calleja. The preface was written by Professor Jonathan Riley-Smith of Emmanuel College, Cambridge.


Chapters/Book Entries 


 2011: ‘Malta and Sicily: The Primacy of Licata – Malta e la Sicilia: Il Primato di Licata’, in Debono, Sandro and Granzotto Giovanni (eds), Riccardo Licata. Mediterranean Soul. Verso L’Arte Edizioni (Rome, 2011).

2010: ‘Ritual, splendour and religious devotions: The Siege of 1565 and festival celebrations in 17th Century Malta’,  From the Great Siege to the Battle of Lepanto. The life and times of Malta and the Order of St John 1565-1571. A Sacra Militia Foundation Publication. (Malta, 2011)  

2010: ‘Monks of Honour. Criminal behaviour, and the Knights of Malta in early modern Rome.’ in Exploring Cultural History, Proceedings of an International Conference in Honour of Peter Burke, Cambridge 2007, eds. Melissa Calaresu, Joan-Pau Rubies, and Filippo de Vivo (Ashgate Publishers, 2010)

2008: ‘The Order of St. John and Malta’, in Entree le glaive et la croix. Chefs-d’oeuvre de l’armurerie de Malte (Between the Battle sword and the Cross. Masterpieces from the Armoury of Malta) published by the Musée de l’Armée Paris and Heritage Malta. Malta, 2008.

2006: ‘The Cultural Roots of Maltese Identity. Christian Myths and Social Memory in a Mediterranean Frontier Society’, in: Надежди и разочарования в историята. Сборник в памет на професор Милчо Лалков, Благоевград 2006,  рр. 264-291 (Milcho Lalkov, Blagoevgrad- Bulgaria) 2006,  рр. 264-291. (May 2006).

2006: ‘The Maltese Festa – A Historical and Cultural Perspective’, 45-87 in G. Mifsud-Chircop (ed), First International Conference of the SIEF [Société Internationale d’Ethnologie et de Folklore] Working Group on the Ritual Year in association with the Department of Maltese, University of Malta Junior College, Msida Malta. Proceedings. Malta, March 20-24, 2005. Malta: Publishers Enterprises Group. (April 2006).

2006: ‘Malta, witch trials’. Encyclopedia of Witchcraft: A Western Tradition (4 volumes), R. Golden (general editor). ABC-CLIO Santa Barbara, CA, USA. (March 2006)

2005: [Italian Edition] ‘Etnologia del Mediterraneo’ in Il Mediterraneo: Figure e incontri. Enciclopedia del Mediterraneo. Antropologia e Comunicazione  published by Jaca Book, Milan. 2008: [French Edition] ‘L’Honneur et la Honte en Méditerranée’, in Michele Brondino and Yvonne Fracassetti (eds), La Méditerranéee. Figures et Rencontres. Identités et Dialogue Interculturel. Publisud, Paris 

2005: ‘Between Africa and Europe: Corsairing Activities and the Order of St John in Malta’, Corsari, schiavi, riscatti tra Liguria e Nord Africa nei secoli xvi e xvii, in Atti del terzo convegno di Studi, edited by Associazione Amici di Peagna – Ceriale (Savona- Italy) 

2005: ‘Malta and the sixteenth century struggle for the Mediterranean’ (Jointly with Dominic Cutajar), G. Cassar (ed), Malta in 1565. Separating Fact form Fiction, pp.1-33. Sacra Militia Foundation Publication. 

2004: ‘The Order of St John and the Socio-Cultural Transformation of Malta: 1530-1798’, in Gambin K. (ed), Malta – Roots of a Nation. The Development of Malta from an island People to an Island Nation, pp.73-90. Heritage Malta and the EU accession celebrations committee. 

2003: ‘Homosexuality and Moral Values in Historical Perspective: The Case of Malta in a European Context’, P.A. Bartolo & M.G. Borg (eds), Homosexuality. Challenging the Stigma, pp.103-222. Agenda. Malta. 

2003: ‘La Vallette bl-Assedju Riesaq’, (Grand Master La Vallette and the Ottoman Siege of Malta of 1565), E. Bartolo (ed), Min kien Callus? Analizi storika taz-zmienijiet li fihom ghex Guzeppi Mattew Callus.(Who was Callus? A historical analysis of the Life and Times of Giuseppe Matteo Callus) Klabb Kotba Maltin. Malta. 

2002: ‘Of Illness and Cures: concepts of health in early modern Malta’, La storia della medicina come ponte culturale nel bacino del mediterraneo, pp.169-183 in Atti del Convegno internazionali di studi, Societa’ Italiana di Storia delle Scienze Biomediche e delle Isituzioni Sanitarie, edited by Apes – Rome. 

2001: ‘Education in Hospitaller Malta’, R.G. Sultana (ed), Yesterdays’ Schools. Readings in Maltese Educational History, pp.15-29.  Publishers Enterprises Group Ltd. Malta. 

1998:  ‘Clothing: Symbols and Reality’, N. De Piro & V.A. Cremona (eds), Costume in Malta, pp.50-57. Fondazzjoni Patrimonju Malti. Malta. 

1993: ‘Popular Perceptions and Values in Hospitaller Malta’, V. Mallia-Milanes (ed.) Hospitaller Malta: 1530-1798, pp.429-473. Mireva Publications. Malta. 

1990: ‘Foreign Visitors to St Paul’s grotto in early seventeenth century Malta’, J. Azzopardi (ed.) St Paul’s Grotto, Church and Museum at Rabat, Malta, pp.75-77. Progress Press. Malta. 

1988: ‘Everyday Life in Malta in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries’, V. Mallia-Milanes (ed.), ‘Everyday Life in Malta in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries’, pp.91-126. Mireva Publications. Malta. 

1986: ‘Budgeting and Finance in Seventeenth Century Malta’, (Jointly with Dominic Cutajar)  second edition in Malta - Studies of  its Heritage and History, pp.141-149. Mid-Med Bank Ltd. Malta. 

1986: ‘Malta’s Role in Mediterranean Affairs: 1530-1699’, (Jointly with Dominic Cutajar) second edition in Malta - Studies of its Heritage and History, pp.105-140. Mid-Med Bank Ltd. Malta. 


Papers in Refereed Journals

2014: ‘The Collegium Melitense: A Frontier Mission in the interface between the Christian and Muslim Worlds’, Al-Qantara. Revista de Estudios Arabes, Vol.35 No.1 [in the press].

2014: ‘Palazzo Adriano in Sicily and the Jesuit Mission of 1638’, in The Journal of Baroque Studies, Vol.2 No.1, pp.125-156.

2013:  ‘State Intervention in the Grain Trade of Malta (16th-20th Century’, Mediterranean Review, Vol. 6, No. 2 [December 2013], pp. 59-89.

2013: ‘The Jewesses of Malta: Slaves and Peddlers, Healers and Diviners’, in Studi sull’Oriente Cristiano. Vol.13 No.1. pp.141-152. Accademia Angelica-Costantiniana di Lettere, Arti e Scienze, Rome, Italy.

2011: ‘Malta and the Study of Arabic in the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries’, Turkish Historical Review. No.2, pp.125-154.


2008: ‘Justices and Injustices: The Order of St John, the Holy See, and the Appeals Tribunal in Rome’ History and Anthropology, Volume 19 no.4 (2008), pp.305-323. 

2008: ‘Medical pluralism and its impact on illness in the 16th and 17th century Malta’, Malta Medical Journal, Volume 20 no.1 (2008) pp.44-48. 

2007: ‘Patrolling society’s borders: slavery, apostasy and the Inquisition’, and Paul Sant Cassia, Sacra Militia, The Foundation for the Study of the Military and Naval History of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, no.6 (2007), pp.55-62. 

2004: ‘Magic, Heresy and the Broom Riding Midwife Witch – The Inquisition Trial of Isabetta Caruana’, Proceedings of History Week

 2003, pp.25-41. The Malta Historical Society. 

2004: ‘The Order of St John and Corsairing Activities in the 16th and 17th century Mediterranean’. Sacra Militia – Journal of the Sacra Militia Foundation for the Study of the Military and Naval History of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. vol.1 no.3 (2004), pp.28-34. 

2004: ‘The Cultural Roots of Maltese Identity. Christian Myths and Social Memory in a Mediterranean Frontier Society’, Studi sull’Oriente Cristiano. Vol.8 No.1. pp.101-130. Accademia Angelica-Costantiniana di Lettere, Arti e Scienze, Rome, Italy.


2003: ‘Gozo under the Hospitallers: a socio-demographic approach’, Sacra Militia – Journal of the Sacra Militia Foundation for the Study of the Military and Naval History of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. vol.1 no2 (2003), pp 41-45. 

2002: ‘Latins versus Uniates in Sixteenth Century Malta’, Studi sull’Oriente Cristiano. Vol.6 No.1. pp.207-222. Accademia Angelica-Costantiniana di Lettere, Arti e Scienze, Rome, Italy. 

2002: ‘Concepts of Health and Illness in Early Modern Malta’, Quaderns del’Institut Català d’Antropologia. Barcelona, Spain.

2001: ‘Malta: Language, Literacy and Identity in a Mediterranean Island Society’, National Identities. Vol.3 No.3. pp.257-275.

1998: ‘Nutrition in a Central Mediterranean Island Community: Malta in Medieval and Early Modern Times’, Rivista di Antropologia, Supplemento al Volume 76 (1998),  pp.153-162.


1996:  ‘“U Mulu di Malta”. Trade in Beasts of Burden in Early Modern Malta’, Storja ‘96. pp.12-20.  Malta University History Society Journal. Malta.

1993:  ‘Witchcraft Beliefs and Social Control in Seventeenth Century Malta’, Journal of Mediterranean Studies. Vol.3 No.2, pp.316-334. Reprinted in Brian Levack (ed), New Perspectives on Witchcraft, Magic and Demonology. Vol.5 Witchcraft, Healing and Popular Diseases. Routledge London, 2001. pp.222-240.

1993: ‘The Inquisition Index of Knights of the Order of St John; 1564-1696’, Melita Historica, Vol.XI  No.2. pp.157-196. Malta Historical Society. Malta. 

1990: ‘An Index of the Inquisition: 1546-1575’, Hyphen - A Journal of Melitensia and the Humanities. Vol VI  No.4. pp. 157-178. New Lyceum (Malta).

1988:  ‘The Reformation and Sixteenth Century Malta’, Melita Historica Vol.X No.1. pp.51-68. Malta Historical Society. Malta.

1985: ‘The First Decades of the Inquisition: 1546-1581’, Hyphen - A Journal of Melitensia and the Humanities. Vol. IV No.6. pp.207-238. New Lyceum (Malta).

1985:  ‘Malta and the Sixteenth Century Struggle for the Mediterranean’, Mid-Med Bank Report and Accounts 1985. pp.23-59. Malta. (jointly with Mr D. Cutajar)

1981:  ‘“O Melita Infelix” - A poem on the Siege of  Malta written in 1565’, Melita Historica, Vol.VIII No.2  pp.149-155. Malta Historical Society. Malta.


Membership of Professional Bodies

Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.
Fellow of the Cambridge Commonwealth Society.
Member of the Renaissance Society of America.
Member of the Sacra Militia Foundation
Member of the Malta Historical Society


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