Rethinking Europe from the Mediterranean shores; 1796-1914

Course Material 2023/24
Portolan chart of Europe by Diogo Homem

 

This paper attempts to write a history of modern Europe from the perspective of its Mediterranean shores and, in doing so, it challenges established historiographical verdicts and intellectual hierarchies that construct the sea as a liminal European space. Focusing on the history of Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain, as well as the Empires dominating the Mediterranean in the long nineteenth century, this course will challenge the historiographical thesis depicting Euro-Mediterranean peripheries as derivative, backward or exceptional, stemming from a ‘partial’ or ‘incomplete’ cultural westernisation or modernisation. It will examine exchanges of ideas and the movement of people, such as political exiles and émigrés; it will explore democratic procedures and communication networks, and will analyse the relationship among nation, state and empire by looking at anti-imperial and anti-colonial uprisings, nationalist revolutions and civil wars in the Euro-Mediterranean area. Bridging the gap between the historiography on Modern Europe and on the Modern Mediterranean, this course challenges the boundaries posited between East and West, North and South, and reconstructs interactions, entanglements, and shared experiences – the Mediterranean has become one of the most interesting perspective from which re-define intellectual hierarchies, re-design intellectual geographies, and challenge the notions of centre and periphery.

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Image: Portolan chart of Europe by Diogo Homem, 1563.