University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

Three years of IAS funding have brought the University of Minnesota to the forefront of American scholarship on the Mediterranean.  Beginning in 2009, the Mediterranean World Collaborative has addressed the topics of identity, violence, and exchange in the context of the Mediterranean as a major site of long term and ongoing cross-cultural encounters. The collaboarative brings together a group of literary scholars, historians, Hispanists, Italianists, North Africanists, and students of diverse Mediterranean ethnicities who had worked on the same region of the world, but had never worked together on a common project. The collaborative has challenged its members to develop new vocabularies and intellectual perspectives in order to overcome the limits of disciplinary and sub-disciplinary identities.

Conveners: Kathryn Reyerson (History, College of Liberal Arts), Patricia Lorcin (History, College of Liberal Arts), John Watkins (English, College of Liberal Arts)

Upcoming Collaborative Events

Spring 2013

Mondays at 5:00 p. m. in Heller Hall 1210 unless otherwise indicated.

January 28 – Andrew Overman, Macalester College, “CAPITALS, CRISES, and CONSERVATION: Excavations at a Roman Temple Site in Northern Israel and an Interdisciplinary Program in the Middle East.”

February 11 – Daniel Schroeter, “Vichy in Morocco:  The French Protectorate, the Sultan and His Indigenous Jewish Subjects.”

February 25 – Carla Phillips, “Spain in the Mediterranean after Lepanto: A Continued Commitment?”

March 25 – Carol Hakim, “Narrating the Arab Spring: Some Tentative Comments.”

April 2, 2013, Tuesday at 4:00, 1210 Heller Hall – Reuven Amitai of Hebrew University Jerusalem, “250 Years of ‘Foreign’ Control: The Impact of Mamluk Rule on the History of Palestine and Its Environs.”  Co-sponsored by CMS and the Winton Chair.

April 12-13, 2013, program to be distributed – The Southern Shores of the Mediterranean and Beyond: 1800- to the Present, workshop organized by IAS Mediterranean collaborators.

April 16, 2013, Tuesday at 4:00, 1210 Heller Hall – Ramzi Rouighi of USC , “The Role of Islam in the Medieval Mediterranean.”  Co-sponsored by CMS and the Winton Chair.

April 19 – 20, 2013, place and schedule TBA – Burning the Sea: Clandestine Migrations in the Age of Globalization, an international symposium convened by Hakim Abderrezak.

May 13 – Meeting to discuss future plans.

Fall 2012

September 17
5:00 p. m. in Heller Hall 1210
Martine Sauret, Macalester College, “On the Subject of Anthropomorphic Maps and Their Narratives.”

September 18
4:00 p. m. in Heller Hall 1210
Dwight Reynolds (UCSB), “Re-evaluating Influence: The Interaction of Arab and Northern Spanish Music in Medieval Iberia.”
Cosponsored by CMS and Spanish and Portuguese.

*October 11
7:30 p. m. in Andersen Library
Joanne M. Ferraro, UC-San Diego, 50th Annual James Ford Bell Lecture: “Binding Passions and Shielding Virtue in Early Modern Venice.”
Sponsored by CEMH

*October 25
7:00 p. m. in Andersen Library
Robert Nelson, Yale, CMS Carl Sheppard Memorial Lecture: ” ‘Lords of One Quarter and One Half of the Empire of Romania’: Byzantine Art & State Authority in Venice.”
Sponsored by CMS.

*November 1
7:00 p. m. in Andersen Library
Alan M. Stahl, Princeton, IAS Mediterranean Collaborative Lecture: “Wealth and Power in Medieval Venice: The Condulmer Family in the Century after the Black Death.”

November 19
5:00 p. m. in Heller Hall 1210
Andrew Gallia, History, U MN, “The Ancient Mediterranean.”

*Venetian Lecture Series organized by the Bell Library. The James Ford Bell
Library will organize a Venice exhibit to open October 2, 2012.

2012-2013 – Exchange

In 2012-2013 Patricia Lorcin will teach our first interdisciplinary graduate seminar in Mediterranean Studies, cross-listed by History and Global Studies, Kay Reyerson will teach a freshman seminar on “Medieval Mediterranean Piracy” and John Watkins an upper-division honors seminar on “Mediterranean Wanderings:  Literature and History at the Intersection of Three Continents. “

Building on the theme of Mediterranean identities, the collaborative will focus this coming academic year on the theme of Mediterranean exchange. Taking the Mediterranean as the site, the collaborative will explore the theme of exchange as an engine of change and enrichment. Exchange can be peaceful, violent, cultural, religious, linguistic, or commercial.

The collaborative hopes to connect with the IAS theme of “Site and Incitement.” What more provocative a site can one find than the Mediterranean? The Mediterranean was the birthplace of ancient civilizations; it was polyreligious, multi-cultural, full of connectivities fostering exchanges. Mediterranean history surrounds the pond, inciting later cultures both in and beyond the Mediterranean – the Pergamon altar incited Nazi monumental architecture such as Zeppelin Field in Nüremberg.

Among the issues to be considered will be how exchanges traversed the premodern/modern divide and how relevant such considerations are to the Mediterranean world. If modernity defined races, elites, working classes, and gender roles, encouraged imperialism, witnessed industrialization, and fostered multiple others, how useful is it as a concept vis à vis the Mediterranean? What effect did modernity have on Mediterranean exchanges?

Sites/landscapes were repositories of memory as well as venues of exchange. Here the Mediterranean is an interesting case for pursuit of nostalgia as site related, as it delivers a palimpsest of historical experiences. The interrogation of sites with the prism of the senses permits investigation of change over time. The exchange of memories and reality is at the heart of nostalgia as the memory never replicates reality but distorts in individual ways according to a person’s needs and feelings.

2011-2012 – Violence

Traditionally, the violence of vendetta and the violence of religious clashes have been associated with the Mediterranean. The collaborative is interested in exploring whether there really is something distinctive about Mediterranean violence. Is there something unique that sets Mediterranean violence off from that in other parts of the world? Workshops and public lectures by invited speakers will examine the impact of violence on identity and the ways in which memories of past violence have shaped people and their actions in later ages.

2009-2011 – Identity

During 2010-11, the Collaborative focused on constructions of identities in the Mediterranean world from the Middle Ages to the present.  By identities we refer both to self-defined cultural identities and identities imposed by others; in each case, more than just ethnicity or race is involved, but also law, class, politics, religion, language, and culture.  Although some scholars have questioned the viability of the Mediterranean as a concept, we suggest that its experience as a major site of long term and ongoing cross-cultural encounter makes it more important than ever to explore the dynamics of the region over a long chronology. Drawing on a variety of disciplinary approaches, we plan to lay the basis for an interdisciplinary understanding of interactions in the Mediterranean world over time and in diverse geographies. Our project focused, in particular, on the linguistic, spatial-occupational, and religious dimensions of diversity that underlie identities.  This project’s aims are to use diachronic comparisons, specific cases in time and space, to rethink existing paradigms for understanding the fixity or malleability of identities and to examine the historical transmission of memories of alliances or animosities associated with identities, while we move to a more nuanced understanding of identities than that of the reductionist “clash of civilizations” that has too greatly dominated the terms of recent public discourse.

Identity as a focus has never been more relevant than at the present moment with its increased movements of peoples as immigrants, refugees, evacuees, transplants. In the medieval and early modern eras, the Mediterranean was a multicultural environment where, for example, peoples of different religious backgrounds, Jews, Muslims, Christians, and others – each part of cultures internally diverse – interacted with one another frequently. In the late modern era the Mediterranean has become a vital space of transit for peoples from Africa, the Middle East, and Asia en route to Europe’s southern shores. These 20th and 21st century migrations represent more than just a demographic reversal of earlier movements of peoples outward from Europe; they have raised questions about the extent to which many European societies have organized themselves in highly charged ways around a cultural myth that stresses the distinctions between Northern and Southern identities, between North and South.

Past Collaborative Activities

Fall 2009

September 29
First meeting of IAS Mediterranean Identities collaborative – reception with refreshments

October 9
French and Italian and CMS sponsored talk by Karla Mallette, “Lingua franca in the Mediterranean”

October 13
Roundtable on inquisition documents presented by Michelle Hamilton, M. J. Maynes, and Barbara

November 4
CMS Workshop: Dominique Valérian (Université de Paris I, History), “The Use of Documents of European Archives for the History of the Maghreb during the Colonial Period.”

November 5
Dominique Valérian (Université de Paris I, History) speaks to combined Reyerson, Marrero-Fente graduate seminar on “Port Networks in the Maghreb (12th-15th centuries).”

IAS Thursdays at 4:00 Presentation – Dominique Valérian (Paris,History), “Merchant Identities in the Medieval Mediterranean World (12th-15th centuries)”

November 20
Judith Surkis, History and History and Literature, Harvard University,  “Civilization and the Civil Code: The Scandal of ‘Child Marriage” in French Algeria”

November 30
Alona Nitzan-Shiftan, Israel Institute of Technology, Quadrant Visiting Scholar, “Spatializing Histories and Nationhood: The Architecture of Moshe Safdie at the Foot of the Temple Mount”

December 1
Alona Nitzan-Shiftan, Israel Institute of Technology, Quadrant Visiting Scholar, met informally with the collaborative to discuss her research.

December 3
Quadrant workshop with Alona Nitzan-Shiftan

Spring 2010

February 16
Seminar with Daho Djerbal, historian of modern Algeria, University of Algiers, and members of the Islamic Studies program and Mediterranean collaborative faculty. (Paper circulated in advance to the faculty.)

February 17
Daho Djerbal, historian of modern Algeria, University of Algiers, “Violence et quête d’identité dans l’émergence du sujet en situation coloniale et postcoloniale” (“Violence and the quest for identity in the colonial and postcolonial situation”) (lecture to be given in English).

February 23
John Pryor, University of Sydney, “A Medieval Maritime Revolution: the Logistics of Crusading by Sea, 1097-1204” Cosponsored with the Center for Medieval Studies

March 1
Early modern Ottoman art historian, Heghnar Watenpaugh, University of California, Davis, speaks to graduate seminar conducted by History professors Michael Lower and Giancarlo Casale

March 2
Watenpaugh speaks to IAS collaborative, “The City and Its Reverse: Performing Space and Gender in Islamic Urbanism.”

April 13
Javier Castaño, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (Madrid) and editor of Sefarad, guest of Amy Kaminsky and the Center for Jewish Studies, “Jews in Medieval Castile: 21st Century Configurations.”

April 22
“Italy as a Cultural Crossroads: Long-Term Perspectives on the Mediterranean”
Cosponsored with the Immigration History Research Center and the Institute for Global Studies

April 23
Molly Greene, History, Princeton University, “The Knights of Malta and their Greek Victims: The Mediterranean in the Age of Piracy” Cosponsored by the Center for Early Modern History

April 26
Greene speaks in Giancarlo Casale and Michael Lower’s graduate seminar

April 30
George Steinmetz, Sociology, University of Michigan, speaks on French scholars working on Algeria

Fall 2010

September 20
Carla Phillips, “1710 in the War of the Spanish Succession.”

October 18
Patricia Lorcin, “Wound of Empire or Cancer of Colonialism? Colonial women’s writing and the creation of nostalgia in French Algeria.”

October 27
Hedia Khadar, Professor, University of Tunis, “Identity and Linguistic Conflicts in Maghrebian Literature.” Cosponsored by Global Studies, OIP Global Spotlight, CEMH, French and Italian, and English

November 5
Clifford Rosenberg, Associate Professor of History, C. U. N. Y., “The Pasteur Institute, The League of Nations and the Politics of Vaccine Testing in Interwar Algeria.”

November 15
Kay Reyerson, “’Civis januensis ergo pirata’: Shifting Identities of Merchants and Pirates in the Medieval Mediterranean.”

December 13
John Watkins, “Drinking from Your Father’s Skull: A Lombard Prehistory of Renaissance Marriage Diplomacy.”

Spring 2011

January 31
Marguerite Ragnow, Curator of the James Ford Bell Library, “Mediterranean Materials in the Bell”

February 14
Theresa Vann, Malta Curator, HMML, St. John’s University, Collegeville, “Mediterranean Archives in Minnesota: The Collection of HMML”

February 16
Vanessa Paloma, “Intertwined Identities: Arabic, Spanish and Hebrew as Intrinsic Elements in the Language, Music and Stories of Moroccan’s Northern Jews, ” co-sponsored with the Center for Jewish Studies

February 24-26,
University of Minnesota: NEH conference, organized by Nabil Matar, “Shared Cultural Spaces: Islam and the West in the Arts and Sciences”

March 10
Maureen Jackson, Carleton College, “ A View from the Provinces: Multiethnic Music-Making in Late Ottoman Izmir, “co-sponsored with the Center for Jewish Studies

March 28
William Beeman, “Eastern Mediterranean Influences on Opera and Music Theater in Europe (and vice versa)”

April 7-9
Conference on “Mediterranean Identities, “ cosponsored by the Center for Medieval Studies, the Center for Jewish Studies, the Center for Early Modern History, and the Institute for Global Studies

Fall 2011

September 13
Rim Triki, Asst. Prof in American Studies at the University of Tunis El-Manar. “Tunisian Perspectives on Immigration, Race and Ethnicity: Past and Present.”  
Cosponsored with IHRC.

September 19
Denise Filios, University of Iowa, “The Hero Confronts the Marvels of the West:  Violence and the Fantastic in the Conquest of al-Andalus.”
Cosponsored with Medieval Studies and Spanish and Portuguese.

October 17
Julia Clancy Smith, University of Arizona, “Muslim Princes and Catholic Sisters: Missionaries as Migrants in 19th Century North Africa, c. 1830-1881.”
Cosponsored with IHRC.

October 18
Julia Clancy Smith, “Barbary Coasts: How Mediterraneans Came to Be.”
Cosponsored with IHRC

November 7
Ross Brann, Cornell University, “Andalusi Moorings…a Textualization.”
Cosponsored with Jewish Studies.

November 21
Harvey Goldberg, emeritus Sarah Allen Shaine Chair in Sociology and Anthropology at the Hebrew University, “Getting to Know the Maghrib from a Distance:  Four decades of research among Jews from Libya.”
Cosponsored with Jewish Studies.

December 12
Patricia Lorcin on the results of the Trans-Atlantic Summer Institute in European Studies (TASI) 2011—Violence across time and space, from the Mediterranean to Northern Europe:  Theory and Practice, which she hosted at Minnesota in July with Abderrahmane Moussasoui and Ruth Mandel.

Spring 2012

February 20
Giancarlo Casale, “The Technology of Violence at Sea: Galleys, Galleons and Gunpowder from the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean.”

March 19
Shaden Tageldin, “Fénelon’s Gods, al-Tahtawi’s Jinn: Trans-Mediterranean Fictionalities.”

March 29 evening, March 30 all day
Workshop on “Mediterranean Exchanges” with Minnesota Mediterraneanists

April 9
Nabil Matar, “The Mediterranean through Arab Eyes: the Early Modern Period.”