Mediterranean Seminar Spring 2020 Workshop/Conference

The Global Mediterranean at Ohio State University



The Mediterranean Seminar Conference/Workshop has been postponed in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.




“To claim that there is a global Mediterranean which in the sixteenth century, reached as far as the Azores and the New World, the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf, the Baltic and the loop of the Niger, may appear an unwarranted exaggeration of its boundaries. . . [Yet] what boundaries can be marked when we are dealing not with plants and animals, relief and climate, but men, whom no barriers or frontiers can stop?”
• Braudel, The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II, 168.

As the field of Mediterranean Studies has gained academic purchase in recent decades, the Mediterranean itself has remained a portable concept, a shorthand encoding assumptions about everything from diet to romantic temperament. Scholarship interrogating these assumptions forms an increasingly abundant body of research on the particularities of the Mediterranean world throughout its history. In many studies, a Mediterranean analytical framework is treated as a starting point, or a set of tropes and clichés to be demolished in granular detail. This conference seeks to explore the life of the Mediterranean itself as a productive discourse.

For the workshop (to be held on Friday, 24 April), we invite abstracts of in-progress drafts or book/dissertation chapters on any aspect of the Mediterranean in a global frame. How has the idea of the Mediterranean been leveraged in scholarly and/or cultural practices within and beyond the Mediterranean region? How do Mediterranean ideas and the idea of a Mediterranean zone travel, and along what kinds of networks? How are the Mediterranean and its cultures understood from its periphery and areas beyond? We invite submissions from scholars across the arts, humanities, and social sciences, working from prehistory to the present. Submissions may address the circulation, commodification, and/or reception of Mediterranean ideas, geographies, artifacts, media, cultures, or temporalities. In addition to treating non-Mediterranean cultures as others (or even antagonists), papers may examine the ways in which various peoples and societies have been incorporated into the Mediterranean cultural zone. We particularly welcome diachronic and transhistorical perspectives, as well as studies that span languages, geographies, and cultures.

All North American-based scholars (or foreign scholars who will be in the US at this time) working on relevant material are encouraged to apply. Scholars from further abroad may apply but we cannot pay full travel costs. ABD PhD students, junior and non-tenure track faculty are particularly welcome to apply.

The workshop will also feature a keynote presentation by Alan Mikhail, Professor of History, Yale University.

The second day, Saturday, 25 April, will feature two round-table conversations, focusing on these questions:
•      Mediterranean Studies in an area studies framework: Has Mediterranean Studies been incorporated into older area studies frameworks of the academy? Does it, instead, disrupt area studies frameworks? How can/does Mediterranean Studies coexist with European Studies, MENA Studies, and foreign language and literature departments
•      Circulation: What do stories of the circulation of individuals, artifacts, stories, texts, artworks, etc., reveal about the Mediterranean’s links to global networks of exchange (economic, intellectual, migratory, or otherwise)? What conclusions can we draw from such micro stories of movement?

Participants will be expected to attend the entire two-day symposium.

If you are applying to present at the workshop, please submit an abstract (250-500 words) and two-page CV to (subject line: Spring 2020 Workshop Proposal). Clearly state the title of your paper and its nature (e.g. article, book chapter, dissertation chapter).  Successful applicants are expected to submit a 35-page (maximum) double-spaced paper-in-progress for pre-circulation by 31 March.

If you are applying to participate in a round-table, please indicate which round table(s) you are applying for. Round table participants will be required to submit a 3-5 page “position paper’ by 7 April. For round-table presentations, submit an abstract (250-500 words) and two-page CV by the same date to (subject line: Spring 2020 Round Table Proposal).

You may apply for both a workshop presentation and round-table discussion.

A separate call for non-presenting workshop and symposium attendees will go out in March.

The deadline for workshop and round-table proposals is 20 January.

For further information, please consult, or inquire at