Questioning the Mediterranean: (Self-)Representations from the Southern Shore in the 19th and 20th centuries

10.10.-12.10.2019, Workshop, OI Beirut

Veranstalter: Jasmin Daam und Esther Möller für das DFG-Netzwerk "Modernes Mittelmeer"; in Kooperation mit dem Orient Institut Beirut

Whereas northern representations of the Mediterranean and their relevance in “Western” imperialist aspirations have been studied thoroughly, the responses of actors from the southern shores to this narrative, as well as their genuine uses of the maritime region have attracted much less attention. Hence, the fourth workshop of the research network "The Modern Mediterranean: Dynamics of a World Region 1800-2000" aims to consider the perspectives of these actors. In order to understand whether The Mediterranean as a concept made sense for Maghrebi and Mashriqi actors both in theory and in practice, we ask how local actors contributed to macro-processes such as colonization and decolonization, urbanization, the integration of their regions into an economic world market and the emergence of nation-states.
The transformations of the nineteenth and twentieth century triggered debates about the spatial and temporal position of the Southern Mediterranean, and different understandings of modernity and authenticity impacted upon connections, entanglements and boundaries across the region. Therefore, the relevance of the Mediterranean framework has to be assessed in comparison with alternative networks and notions of belonging. Throughout the conference, we grasp the Mediterranean seascape as an experienced territory, and analyse connectivities and dividing lines across the Mediterranean. A special section is dedicated to contemporary Lebanese perspectives upon the Mediterranean . Three celebrated artists from contemporary Lebanon will present their works as a starting point for a discussion about currently relevant spaces of reference as well as the relevance and meaning of the Mediterranean in the 21st century.


Day 1: Thursday, 10/10/2019
Keynote, 18:00-19:30
Cyrus Schayegh (Geneva): Scale: Three Conceptual Reflections, with Special Reference to the Middle East

Day 2: Friday, 11/10/2019
Introduction, 9:00-9:30
Manuel Borutta (Konstanz), Jasmin Daam (Kassel), Esther Möller (Mainz)
Bridging the Gap: Discourses on Modernity in the Arab World
Chair: Nora Lafi (ZMO Berlin)
Christian Taoutel (USJ Beirut): The Theory of Phoenicianism
Manfred Sing (IEG Mainz): Mediterranean Entanglements and Arab Reflections about them
Coffee Break (11:30-12:00)
Stefan Vogt (Frankfurt/Main): A Bridge over the Mediterranean: German Zionist Self-Conception as Mediators between the "Orient" and the "West"
Anchoring Space: Constructions of Belonging
Chair: Youssef Mouawad
Dennis Dierks (Jena, SPP Transottomanica): Mapping the umma: Mutual Perceptions of the (Arab) Centre and the (European) Periphery before WWI”
Coffee Break (15:00-15:30)
Jasmin Daam (Kassel): Greetings from the Southern Shore: Postcards and Spaces of Belonging in the Eastern Mediterranean
Joseph Rustom (Houshamadyan - UOB): Reconstructing an Armenian Identity through Religious Architecture in Lebanon and Syria (1923-1960).
Salon: Living in the Mediterranean : Mobilities and Performances in and across Lebanon (in English and French)
Chaza Charafeddine (Beirut), Charif Majdalani (USJ Beirut), Mounira al-Solh (Beirut/Amsterdam).

Day 3: Saturday, 12/10/2019
Shaping Seascapes: The Mediterranean as Connection and Boundary
Chair: Malte Fuhrmann (ZMO Berlin)
Selim Deringil (LAU Beirut): Criminalizing immigration: Ottoman attempts to prevent out migration from Mount Lebanon in the late 19th century
Onur Yildirim (AUB Beirut/METU Ankara): Human Displacement across the Mediterranean
Coffee Break (11:00-11:30)
Kamel Doraï (Ifpo Beirut): Migration, Mobility, Asylum and Place Making in the Middle East 
Concluding Remarks (Birgit Schäbler (OIB Beirut))
Final Discussion: Is There an “Other” Mediterranean?

Tripoli’s Global Modernity: The Mediterranean and Beyond
Field Trip of the Network Members


Esther Möller
Institut für Europäische Geschichte
55116 Mainz