Loading Events

CFP: “Intermediaries, Middle Grounds, Middle Sea” The Mediterranean Seminar Winter Workshop 2024 (UCLA: 9 & 10 February)

Friday, Feb 9, 2024 - Saturday, Feb 10, 2024

The Mediterranean Seminar (www.mediterraneanseminar.org) is seeking proposals for papers to be workshopped and for round-table participants for the Mediterranean Seminar 2024 Winter Workshop, “Intermediaries, Middle Grounds, Middle Sea,” to be hosted by the UCLA CMRS-Center for Early Global Studies, and held on the campus of the University of California Los Angeles, 9 & 10 February 2024.

As the theater of engagement and integration of communities originating on the shores or from the hinterlands of Africa, Asia, and Europe, the Mediterranean region served as a dynamic center of interaction and exchange from Antiquity through early modernity. Even as it began to lose political and economic centrality, it has remained a zone of engagement of diverse peoples and cultures into the Modern era. This engagement is both the product and the catalyst of continuous dialectical processes of translation, transculturation, colonization, and syncretism across the gamut of human experience and expression: in art, literature, language, music, religion, media, material culture, and folk practices, as well as in social, economic, political, and institutional dynamics.

The Winter 2024 Mediterranean Seminar Workshop focuses on the agents (the “go-betweens”) and the currents (the “in-betweens”) of such dialectics. Typically invisible or, at best, marginalized in traditional historiographies and disciplines, intermediaries and middle grounds (synthetic texts, translations, objects, institutions and strategies, and the individuals and communities who were their agents and products) are crucial to the understanding of the history and culture of the Mediterranean, and of the historical processes which gave rise to many aspects of the modern world.

The workshop will also feature two keynote presentations. Keynote speakers include Claire Gilbert (Saint Louis University) and Rustam Shukurov (University of St Andrews).

For the workshop to be held on Friday, 9 February, we invite abstracts (250 words) from scholars and graduate students for unpublished in-progress articles or book or dissertation chapters relating directly or tangentiallly to intermediaries, middle grounds, and the processes (whether organic or deliberate) of historical and cultural dialectics, including persons, objects, institutions, ideas, processes or practices. The deadline for workshop proposals is 1 November 2023 via this form. Successful applicants are expected to submit a 35-page (maximum) double-spaced paper-in-progress for pre-circulation by 10 January 2024.

For the three round-table conversations to be held on Saturday, 10 February, we invite abstracts (±250 words) for position papers that respond to one of the prompts below. The deadline for application is 1 November 2023 via this form. Round-table presenters will need to submit a 3-5 page “position paper” by 15 January 2024. Position papers are informal “op-ed” pieces with minimal scholarly apparatus.

  1. To what extent did the individual character of intermediaries (go-betweens, diplomats, translators, fixers, exiles, refugees, enslaved people) shape cultural, political and/or economic developments in the Mediterranean? To what extent does this differ or resemble dynamics and apparatuses outside the region?
  2. What do transmitted, borrowed, gifted or re-configured objects, styles, cultural forms or texts reveal about processes of cultural dialectic in the Mediterranean? To what extent are these dynamics particularly Mediterranean?
  3. How did the geographical character and/or institutional infrastructure that developed in the Mediterranean contribute to particular outcomes in terms of regional engagement and/or cultural, political and/or social evolution?

Proposals are welcome from scholars from across the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences of all ranks. Graduate students, contingent faculty, scholars of underrepresented communities, and those whose work engages with historiographically marginalized groups are particularly encouraged to apply. Papers may address either specific case studies or larger historical or historiographical dynamics and apparatuses. Comparative, interdisciplinary, and methodologically innovative papers are of particular interest. Our Mediterranean is construed geographically as including southern Europe, the Near East and North Africa and stretching into the Black Sea and Central Asia, and the Red Sea and the western Indian ocean. While our primary laboratory is the premodern Mediterranean, we welcome proposals from across the historical era, as well papers which focus on other regions in which analogous or related processes can be observed.

A separate call for non-presenting participants will go out in December.
This is an in-person meeting only.

Workshop presenters will receive a travel allowance and accommodation; round-table presenters will receive accommodation. Participants are expected to attend both full days of the program.

This workshop is organized by Brian A. Catlos (University of Colorado Boulder), Sharon Kinoshita (UC Santa Cruz) and Zrinka Stahuljak (UCLA). It is sponsored by the UCLA CMRS Center for Early Global Studies, together with the Mediterranean Seminar and the CU Mediterranean Studies Group.

To complete this form you will need an abstract of your proposed presentation, a biographical paragraph and a 2-page CV (pdf).

If you would like to apply to workshop a paper, you can also apply to present as part of a round-table (in the event your workshop paper is not selected) by filling in a second application form.


Friday, Feb 9, 2024
Saturday, Feb 10, 2024
Event Category: