Year in Review 2011-2012

The UC Mediterranean Studies Multi-Campus Research Project has completed an extremely successful second year. Not only have we continued to carry out a rich program integrating faculty and graduate students on various UC campuses, we have broadened our collaborative base with US and foreign institutions (notably the University of Colorado at Boulder), and scholars from a range of disciplines the world-over. We have organized a series of conferences, panels and workshops, our third NEH Summer Institute, and have secured substantial outside funding. A number of publications have resulted or are in the works, including new research, theoretical work, and pedagogical material (notably an undergraduate textbook). As an institution and scholarly forum we now have over 550 affiliates world-wide; we are now undoubtedly at the forefront of the emerging field of Mediterranean Studies. Our reputation has been established firmly on an international scale.

[The MRP, Mediterranean Seminar, and related projects are mentioned prominently in “Mediterraneanism: How to Incorporate Islamic Art into an Emerging Field,” Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012) by Mariam Rosser-Owen, curator of the Arab World collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.]

Core Program

In its second year of funding, the UC Mediterranean Studies MRP once again successfully carried out its core program of three quarterly workshops, each organized around a special theme, rotating among the UC campuses and (in Spring 2012) with a collaborating institution, the University of Colorado-Boulder. Each of these was held in conjunction with a separate, thematically-related event organized by a representative at the host campus. Attendance was capped at 35 in order to accommodate the workshop format. Attendees at each of the three events consisted of a core of UC faculty and graduate students together with scholars from other local and national institutions.

  • Fall: “Mediterranean Empires,” UCLA (October 29), in conjunction with the conference “Rivalry and Rhetoric in the Early Modern Mediterranean: Envisioning Empire in the Old World” (October 28), organized by Barbara Fuchs (UCLA English, Spanish), and sponsored by the UCLA Center for Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Studies. Plenary Speaker: Christophe Picard (University of Paris I), “The Mediterranean versus the Indian Ocean: Representations of the Seas in Arabic Geography at Baghdad (Ninth Century)”
  • Winter: “The Maritime Mediterranean,” UCSD (February 3), in conjunction with a roundtable (February 4), “Reconstructing the Mediterranean Past,” organized by UCSD Campus Rep Oumelbanine Zhiri. Plenary Speaker: Nabil Matar (University of Minnesota): “The Mediterranean in Arabic Sources in the Early Modern Period”
  • Spring: “Can We Talk Mediterranean?” CU Boulder (April 6), in conjunction with a roundtable of the same name (April 7), co-organized by MRP PI Brian Catlos and Claire Farago, co-organizer of Mediterreanean Studies, CU Boulder. Plenary Speaker: Peregrine Horden (Royal Holloway, London and All Souls, Oxford), “Mediterranean Connectivities: A Comparative Approach”

The Year Ahead (2012-13)

Dates and venues for the upcoming academic year are in place: Fall (November 9-10) at UCSB, in conjunction with a one-day conference on Mediterranean Archaeology, co- organized by UCSB Campus Rep Edward English and Medieval Studies chair Carol Lansing; Winter (Jan 31-Feb 1) at UCLA, in conjunction with a one-day conference on Cross-cultural Encounters in the Medieval and Early Modern Mediterranean, co-organized by UCLA Campus Rep/Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies Associate Director Zrinka Stahuljak and Teo Ruiz; Spring (May 2-4) in conjunction with a MRP “midterm” conference featuring representatives of several US and Europe-based programs in Mediterranean Studies.

Outreach and Outside Collaboration

The Mediterranean Seminar/UCMRP continues to aggressively pursue opportunities for outside collaboration, and new associates for our group. At present we have over 550 affiliated scholars the world-over and dozens of collaborating institutions. In 2012 we established collaborations with the Zentrum Moderner Orient (Berlin), the project “Le statut légal des minorités religieuses dans l’espace euro-méditerranéen (Ve-XVe siècles) – RELMIN,” based at the Université de Nantes (France), and intensified our collaborations with the Mediterranean initiatives at the Université of Paris I, the University of Exeter (UK), the University of the Eastern Mediterranean (Cyprus), and the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor. We have also opened discussions with Mediterranean groups at Harvard University, the CNRS in Naples, and have begun conversations with projects in Lugano, Switzerland, and Madrid. Our collaborator, Harvey Hames (U Ben Gurion of the Negev), is the finalist for a multi-year i-Core project on conversion to be funded by the government of Israel, and has asked us to be a formal collaborator. Both Catlos and Kinoshita were appointed to the Associated Faculty of UCLA’s Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies in 2012, and Catlos continues to serve as a board member of the Mediterranean Consultation of the American Academy of Religion.

Project Output (2011-12)

Although in we are only in our second year, with our core program of workshops and conferences and thanks to the integration of our the MRP with our larger project and co- sponsored programs such as our NEH Summer Institute, The Mediterranean Seminar, this initiative has already yielded significant results. Substantial undertakings that are in progress include our new monograph series, Mediterranean Studies (Palgrave MacMillan), The Sea in the Middle (the Mediterranean history textbook), Can We Talk Mediterranean? (based on our Spring 2012 round-table), and Paradoxes of Plurality: Ethno-Religious Diversity in the Pre-Modern Mediterranean (a theoretical study by Catlos).