This week in Berlin: The Mediterranean of Modernity

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The Mediterranean of Modernity: Global and Regional Perspectives

6th Workshop of the DFG Research Network “Modern Mediterranean. Dynamics of a World Region”

Venues: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin & Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient Berlin

Dates: Tuesday 4th – Friday 7th October  2022

in cooperation with:

Forum Transregionale Studien, Historicity of Democracy in the Arab and Muslim Worlds (HISDEMAB), Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO), Merian Centre for Advanced Studies in the Maghreb (MECAM) Tunis and Universität Konstanz

Organizers: Manuel Borutta, Malte Fuhrmann, Nora Lafi, Esther Möller & Daniel Tödt




A convergence is taking place within the humanities and the social sciences: While global historians rediscover micro- and regional levels of analysis, area studies are refashioning themselves as transregional. What does this mean for the study of the modern Mediterranean? Current conflicts and crises have turned our attention to the region. Mediterranean studies are booming.Yet, since the latter continue to be a domain of scholars of pre-modern times and non-Western societies, the modern Mediterranean remains a historiographical blind spot. Though historical research on the Mediterranean of the nineteenth and first half of the twentieth century has grown massively during the last decade, the paradigm is still hardly established within the field of modern history where sub-, trans- and non-Mediterranean frameworks of analysis prevail. Since those area studies that do cover parts of the region (North Africa, Middle East, Western and Southeastern Europe, the Ottoman empire and Turkey) are either also in an early stage of trans-regionalization or limit themselves to intraregional dynamics, a comprehensive view is missing. In order to change this, our workshop will revisit the genealogy of Mediterraneanism, a genuinely modern representation system that excluded the region from the master narratives of modernity (1); discuss the place of the modern Mediterranean in the field of world history (2); compare the approaches of Mediterranean studies with those of neighboring and connected areas (3) and seas (4), and, finally, reflect upon the question how a history of the modern Mediterranean can be written (5-6). On a methodological level, we wish to define the relation of Mediterranean and global history with regard to the modern age, during which processes of regional and global integration overlapped and influenced each other on an unprecedented scale.


Tuesday, 4th October 2022

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Address: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Senatssaal, Unter den Linden 6, 10117 Berlin


Welcome & Introduction
by Daniel Tödt (Berlin) and Manuel Borutta (Konstanz)16.30 - 18.45

16:00 - 18:45
Beyond Mediterraneanism

Chair: Esther Möller (Paris)

Fernando Esposito (Konstanz):
What time was the modern Mediterranean?

Paul Sant Cassia (Malta):
How to do Mediterranean anthropology today?

17:50 - 18:05        Break

Joseph Viscomi (London):
On perspective and possibility in Mediterranean history


19:00 -20:30
Round Table:
The Modern Mediterranean in Global History

Chair : Georges Khalil (Berlin)





Manuel Borutta (Konstanz)
Ulrike Freitag (Berlin)
Julia Hauser (Kassel)
Khaled Kchir (Tunis)
Ilham Khuri-Makdisi (Boston)
Nora Lafi (Berlin)


20.30    Reception


Wednesday, 5th October 2022

Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient Berlin
Address: Kirchweg 33, 14129 Berlin


Welcome by Ulrike Freitag (Berlin) & Nora Lafi (Berlin)

09:30 - 12:00
Connecting Mediterranean & Sea Studies

Chair: Andreas Guidi (Paris)

Ulrike Freitag (Berlin):
Red Sea & Indian Ocean

Andreas Eckert (Berlin):
Atlantic Ocean

11:00 - 11:30 Break

Borut Klabjan (Koper):
Adriatic Sea

Dilek Akyalcin Kaya (Rethymno):
Eastern Mediterranean Sea

13:00    Lunch (ZMO)


14.30 - 18.00
Connecting Mediterranean & Area Studies

Chair: Cyrus Schayegh (Geneva)

M'hamed Oualdi (Paris): North Africa
Hannes Grandits (Berlin): Southeastern Europe

16:00 - 16.30  Break

Liat Kozma (Jerusalem): Middle East
Cristina Lombardi-Diop (Chicago): Sub-Saharan Africa           


18.00 Dinner /  Catering (ZMO)


Thursday, 6th October 2021

Leibniz Zentrum Moderner Orient Berlin
Address: Kirchweg 33, 14129 Berlin

09:30 - 12:15
Writing the Modern Mediterranean I

Chair: Malte Fuhrmann (Berlin)

Space: Manuel Borutta (Konstanz), Comment: Jürgen Osterhammel (Freiburg)
Time: Fernando Esposito (Konstanz), Comment: Sebastian Conrad (Berlin)
RevolutionsMaurizio Isabella (London), Comment: Ilham Khuri-Makdisi (Boston)

10.45 - 11.00  Break

Kinship: Paul Sant Cassia (Malta), Comment: Lene Faust (Bern)
Violence: Patrick Bernhard (Oslo), Comment: Zeynep Türkyilmaz (Potsdam)
Tourisme: Jasmin Daam (Bonn), Comment: Valeska Huber ( Wien)

12.15  Lunch ZMO

14.00 - 18.40
Writing the Modern Mediterranean II

Chair: Fernando Esposito

Missions: Esther Möller (Paris), Comment: Nazan Maksudyan (Berlin)
Ideology: Fabian Lemmes (Bochum), Comment: Sana Tannoury-Karam (Beirut)
Media: Arthur Asseraf (Cambridge), Comment: Frank Bösch (Potsdam)              

15:15  - 15.30  Break        

Chair: Jasmin Daam (Bonn)



Migration: Nora Lafi (Berlin), Comment: Céline Regnard (Aix-en-Provence)
Cosmopolitanism: Malte Fuhrmann (Berlin), Comment: Rim Naguib (Berlin)
Illegality: Andreas Guidi (Paris), Comment: Cyrus Schayegh (Geneva)

16.45 - 17.00  Break

Chair: Fabian Lemmes (Bochum)



Trade: Sakis Gekas (Toronto), Comment: Funda Soyal (Istanbul)
Agriculture: Heinrich Hartmann (Hamburg), Comment:  Joseph Viscomi (London)
Environment: Joseph Viscomi (London), Comment: Heinrich Hartmann (Hamburg)
Africans: Daniel Tödt (Berlin), Comment: Cristina Lombardi-Diop (Chicago)

18.45 - 19.00
Feedback and Conclusions

19.30     Dinner (Speisewerkstatt, Nikolassee)

More info and full programme:

The Mediterranean of Modernity, 4 - 7 October 2022 | Modernes Mittelmeer: Dynamiken einer Weltregion 1800-2000 (