Mediterranean Rivers in Global Perspectives

Conference from 2016/03/03 til 2016/01/04: Recent debates on globalization and the spatial turn have increased the interest into the study of transnational regions and human-nature relationships. In this context, the Mediterranean is often regarded as a natural given. However, the global history has also changed and modified the idea of well-defined areas and cultures. Therefore the conference will regard the borders of the Mediterranean as flexible and situate the region within a global context. In order to further develop Mediterranean studies we propose an interdisciplinary and cross-epochal perspective, focusing on Mediterranean rivers and their People.

Rivers in the Mediterranean have always been spaces of interaction between sea, coast and hinterland. They have also been important locations of social formation, since they are resources of water, food and energy as well as natural borders and routes. By looking at the interdependency between physical and social spaces of Mediterranean rivers, the conference aims at connecting the spatial turn with the post-constructivist turn and relates it to environmental history and material culture studies. Mediterranean rivers are taken as case studies for looking on the one hand at far-distance relationships and on the other hand at local social formation processes. In this way, the conference engages with recent debates in area studies , which tend to position themselves as part of global history looking at cross-area entanglements and shifting the borders between formerly clearly defined entities.

The conference is divided into four sections. The introductory section will look at rivers as topics of writing cultural history, on fluvial approaches to the Mediterranean and to other regions of the world. This section serves as basis of the three subsequent sections: (1) River People, (2) Connectivities, and (3) Imagined Rivers. In all sections rivers of the Mediterranean will be compared with rivers of other areas of the world. In the final round table discussion, the prospects and limits of a fluvial Mediterranean will be discussed and evaluated within a global perspective.

Beginning: 1 pm
Location: Hörsaal des Instituts für Archäologische Wissenschaften (Am Bergbaumuseum 31, 44791 Bochum)

Program: Mediterranean Rivers in Global Perspectives