CFP: Mapping the Mediterranean: Space, Memory, and the Long Road to Modernity


“Mapping the Mediterranean: Space, Memory, and the Long Road to Modernity”

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

11-12 October 2013

Keynote Panel: “The Present and Future of Mediterranean Studies”

Yasser Ellhariry, Dartmouth College

Gail Holst-Warhaft, Cornell University

Sharon Kinoshita, University of California, Santa Cruz

Karla Mallette, University of Michigan (chair)

The Mediterranean served as a site of transit, exchange, and interaction for well over two millennia, demonstrating tendencies towards both unification and dispersion. With the onset of modernity, however, linguistic, ethnic, and national boundaries solidified across the region. Language, history, memory, and space itself were literally reshaped by the tools of archaeology, architecture, tourism, mass print, national education, and transportation.


In recent years, scholarship has begun to excavate past connections and exchanges that belie our modern conception of the region, mapping out a diverse – yet united – series of Mediterranean identities centered on the connecting sea.


Mediterranean Topographies, the University of Michigan’s Interdisciplinary Workshop on Mediterranean Studies, is pleased to announce its second conference for graduate students and young faculty. Our symposium attempts to bring this new model – one that is deeply transnational and cross-cultural, yet situated primarily within the ancient, pre- and early-modern periods – into meaningful dialogue with modernity. We will engage the space of the Mediterranean through the cityscape, as seen through the lenses of literature, history, anthropology, cultural studies, architecture, and urban planning. Areas of focus will include (but not be restricted to):


* cartography and spatiality, city planning and historical narrative, architecture and collective memory;

* ideologies of the urban, relationships between city and peripheries (hinterlands, islands, deserts etc.);

* mobility, emigration, immigration, class-stratification, ghettoization, tourism;

* material history, consumption, trade, manufacturing, commodification, fashion;

* remembering the city, memoir, nostalgia;

* gendering and queering the city;

* (de)/(re)colonizing the city;

* and, in general, the destruction, re-construction, and re-imagining of the Mediterranean city space after the spread of nationalism.


Using these foci, we will explore the multiple Mediterraneans that have been built up and torn down since the onset of modernity. In short, this symposium will attempt to address the ways in which pre- and early-modern interconnectivities – both real and imagined – were destroyed, kept alive, or modulated over the long passage into modernity. Although our focus will be upon transitions stretching from the early modern to modernity (c. 1500 to today), we nonetheless encourage work that treats these same issues of urban transformation in the ancient world, especially within a diachronic, comparative framework. We also encourage contributions that focus on methodological debates and innovations for mapping and studying Mediterranean cities.


We seek to bring together work in the humanities, arts, and social sciences. We invite abstracts ranging from 200-250 words that relate to or expand upon the topics suggested above. Submissions are especially encouraged from disciplines such as literature, the history of art, history, anthropology, sociology, architecture and urbanism, gender and women’s studies, queer studies, African studies, and religious studies. Along with your abstract please suggest the category or categories to which you feel your submission is best suited. Please provide your institutional affiliation and mailing address, as well as telephone number. Indicate whether a/v equipment will be needed.

The presentation should be in English, twenty minutes in length (i.e., 10 double-spaced pages) and may address a topic from any relevant period(s) or discipline(s). Deadline for abstract submission: May 15, 2013.


Please direct questions and submissions to the Meditopos symposium co-chairs, Harry Kashdan and Will Stroebel, at [email protected] and [email protected].