The University of California Center for Mediterranean Studies

UCSC Center for Mediterranean Studies is administered by the UCSC Institute for Humanities Research (IHR). Under Co-Directors Brian A. Catlos (History, UCSC) and Sharon Kinoshita (Literature, UCSC), the Center encourages collaborative, interdisciplinary research on and new pedagogical approaches to the history and culture of the Mediterranean region, including its impact on and role in world historical processes.

While the activities of the Center emphasize the period from Late Antiquity through Early Modernity, we are interested in investigating the totality of the Mediterranean from prehistoric to modern times. Building on various theorizations of Mediterranean space, the UCSC Center for Mediterranean Studies/Mediterranean Seminar promotes research initiatives focused on the region’s history of connectivity. In addition to investigations of the political and ideological dimensions of contact and conflict between three continents (Africa, Asia, Europe) and between and among the peoples of three religions (Christianity, Islam, Judaism), we are especially interested in the variegated forms of cultural patterning that made the Mediterranean a dynamic “zone of intelligibility” facilitating the ongoing circulation and transmission of intellectual, cultural, commercial, and technological practices.

While our primary focus is the specificity (historical, geographical, and other) of the Mediterranean region, we remain attentive to its place in the history of adjacent regions and in both historical and methodological connections to research currently underway on other maritime spaces such as the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.

The Center for Mediterranean Studies has developed out of UCSC’s Research Group in Mediterranean Studies which, under the direction of Catlos and Kinoshita, has produced a series of initiatives and programs, including The Medieval Seminar, a Residential Research Group at UCHRI in Irvine, a UC France-Berkeley Exchange Program, and two NEH Summer Institutes. From 2010 to 2015, the Center for Mediterranean Studies was the home of a five-year Multi-Campus Research Project, funded by the UC Office of the President, involving faculty and graduate students from seven UC campuses.

The Center sponsors a range of activities and programs related to research and teaching and the study of the Mediterranean as a region, with an emphasis on Pre- and Early Modern periods. At Santa Cruz we are supported by the Division of Humanities, the Institute for Humanities Research and the Center for Cultural Studies. We continue to direct an inter-disciplinary research group and collaborate regularly with the History Department, the Literature Department, the Center for Jewish Studies and the Classics Program. Through our system-wide and external programs and publication series, we collaborate with scholars across North America and the world.