[C5036] Is There a Modern Muslim Mediterranean?

Created by Jonathan Glasser
Sunday, 11/19/17 3:30pm


In recent years, the Mediterranean has been used increasingly by humanist scholars as an Area Studies (or perhaps counter-Area Studies) rubric. Like other regional categories, it orients research to geographical coordinates. But because it links regions typically studied separately (Europe and the MENA region), and because of the sea at its center, it challenges the territorial and cultural orthodoxies of the Area Studies model.

At the same time, the Mediterranean has posed problems for MENA scholars. Discussions of the Mediterranean often presuppose Muslim-Christian interactions, but are typically initiated by historians of predominantly Christian lands who tend to treat predominantly Muslim lands of the Mediterranean as a supplement to a history oriented toward Christian-majority societies. Furthermore, discussions of the Mediterranean have privileged the medieval and early modern periods.

This thematic conversation builds on discussions from 2015 and 2016 that invited debate on the Mediterranean as a heuristic device for thinking about the medieval and early modern history of Muslim societies. For 2017, we envision engaging the Mediterranean from the perspective of Islamic history in the modern period. Questions participants might address in this year's panel include:

-Why have discussions of the Mediterranean focused on the medieval and early modern periods? What obstacles does the modern period pose for thinking about the Mediterranean, particularly from the perspective of Islamic history?
-Should we think of the modern Mediterranean primarily in terms of rupture? Are there alternatives that allow for narratives of continuity?
-Can we speak of Islamic history in the modern Mediterranean? If not, what are the alternatives?
-Does the alleged demise of the Mediterranean as a political and economic center in the modern period intersect with narratives of Islamic decline?
-Was the modern Mediterranean a colonial project? If so, what does this mean for current scholarship?
-How did the Mediterranean shape Islamic intellectual and political networks in the modern period?
-Is there a specifically modern pattern of relationship between the Mediterranean and its hinterlands, and is there an "Islamic" variant?
-To what extent were the shores and polities of the Mediterranean "Muslim"? How did the presence of Christians and Jews- both indigenous populations and settlers, migrant laborers, administrators, and resident traders - shape the Muslim Mediterranean?
-How do modern histories of migration complicate or enable the notion of a Muslim Mediterranean?
-How does the history of the Muslim Mediterranean compare to other maritime regions in the modern Islamic ecumene?






Judith E. Tucker

(Georgetown University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Edmund Burke III

(University of California Santa Cruz)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Sibel Zandi-Sayek

(College of William & Mary)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Jonathan Glasser

(College of William and Mary)
Panel Participating Role(s): Organizer;

Eric Calderwood

(University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Naor Ben-Yehoyada

(Columbia University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;