The Mediterranean Seminar is dedicated to the study of Mediterranean societies and cultures and their role in World History and the History of "the West." Located at the intersection of three continents, the premodern Mediterranean was a shared environment characterized by tremendous ethnic and religious diversity and by the intensity of cultural, economic, and political exchange. Among Africans, Asians, and Europeans, Christians, Muslims, and Jews, and others, both conflict and peaceful communication encouraged acculturation and spurred innovations that transformed the societies of the Mediterranean and their continental neighbors. Though because of the dominance of modern national paradigms, the weight of teleological historical traditions, and assumptions about the rigidity of ecumenical divisions, the premodern Mediterranean is frequently regarded as an anomaly, it was central to the historical developments and cultural transformations that produced Modernity.
The Mediterranean Seminar is locus of the "California School" of Mediterranean Studies, a strategy for approaching the history and culture of the region from a phenomenological and comparative perspective—one that "provincializes" Europe, Africa, and the Islamic world; does not presume to reify analytical categories of religion, ethnicity, and nation; and eschews facile deterministic approaches to the understanding of human action and interaction.
Sponsoring a diverse range of scholarly activities, including a reading group, colloquia, seminars, and publications, The Mediterranean Seminar provides a forum for scholarly exchange and dialogue across the Humanities and Social Sciences, and for collaboration among Mediterranean Studies departments and research projects across the world. These exchanges are designed to facilitate investigation into the character of the Mediterranean as a region and its role in history and to promote the incorporation of Mediterranean Studies into university curricula.
We are currently based at the University of Colorado at Boulder, with administrative support provided generously by the Religious Studies Department.