Wake up, Saladin, we are back. My presence here today confirms the victory of the Cross over the Crescent.

The French General Gouraud in July 1920 when he went into Damascus and visited the tomb of Saladin, the Kurdish prince who defeated the Crusaders army in the battle of Hattin, in July 1187.

crusading - a multi-disciplinary network
The "Crusading " project is a network involving a multi-faceted series of events and activities: Exhibitions, seminars, on-line discussions, workshops and publications. These are aimed at the historical crusades, at understanding how the Middle East and the borders of Europe became the place for struggles over power and control, and at contemporary conflicts and political culture across the globe, influenced or illuminated by the concept of the crusades.

"The Crusades" was the common name for a series of military actions, initiated and executed by European forces from many nations, aimed at establishing and expanding the hegemony of the West over the known world and the supremacy of Christianity as a system of power and rule. The First Crusade was launched in 1095 by Pope Urban II with the goal of gaining control of Jerusalem and ousting the Muslims. In July 1099 , Jerusalem was conquered, establishing the Kingdom of Jerusalem as the first Crusader state. The Crusades were an important ground on which the modern Europe was erected. As such, the imaginary and ideology of the historical crusades has followed us to the present.

From a contemporary perspective, the word "crusade" has both literal and metaphorical use. Outside of the real consequences of the historical crusades, traced to the present, or the way their ideology lives as an imaginary force in contemporary consciousness, the concept is also metaphorically employed by, for example, anyone who follows a passionate path for or against something - "crusading for children's rights", "crusading against evil". In such contemporary rhetoric we might claim that the cross, initially employed by the historical crusaders, is seen more as a banner.

In addition, the "Crusading" project is concerned with issues of mapping and representing, how we - including the deconstruction of we - deal with Others and to which extent the gaze of Others also outlines our own identity and establishes our belonging.

As a project, "Crusading" forges a network of international institutions and individuals, committed to explore and work with these topics.

Initiated by Swedish-Uruguayan writer and social anthropologist Ana L. Valdés and museum director Jan-Erik Lundström, the project is organized and administered by Bildmuseet, a museum of contemporary art and visual culture at Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.

Crusading is supported by Stiftelsen framtidens kultur.

Jan-Erik Lundström, Director of BildMuseet, Umeå University

Ana L. Valdés, writer and Project Manager for the project Crusading,

Monica von Stedingk, Information Officer