The Mediterranean is a haunting entity for European “Modernity”; it is the irrational underbelly that brings disorder, border breaching, colonial phantoms, and an uncanny claim to a common, mythically glorious, ancient past. This complex cultural figuration, long marginalized in the narrative of Modernity to romantic and orientalist fantasies of opulence and wilderness, or scornful examples of corruption and backwardness, has recently become a very visible and unavoidable focus of political action, with military, humanitarian and cultural strategies of securitization implemented along European borders in the face of pressing migrations and disseminated conflicts across the Middle East.
The tragedies currently taking place within the waters of the Mediterranean and the simultaneous re-assessment of social and cultural politics inside Europe demand an urgent discussion of the uses and meanings of “humanitarian crises”, of the (connected) limited and restrictive identity politics of modern nationalism, as well as of the politics of European identity. Reading the Mediterranean space as a multiplicity of “composite localities”, while at the same time acknowledging that it “exemplifies global patterns of shared encounter, colonialism, trade and imperial ambition” (Chambers), means attending to the different levels of political and cultural reflection necessary to open up the arena to the instability of critical views. Arjun Appadurai, whose Modernity at Large we are paraphrasing in the title of this journal issue, speaks of the untenability of national narratives, replaced by “diasporic public spheres”. This is one possible way to think of the Mediterranean today: a space of the imaginary in which diasporas have created and still create multiple narratives of cultural belonging and political identities, rooted on a map of shared encounters and colonial violence.
We invite articles that discuss the above issues, from the perspectives of cultural studies, political theory, political thought, history, postcolonial studies, cultural geography, and area studies. Interdisciplinary approaches are particularly welcome.
Possible topics may include, but are not limited to:
- Securitization regimes in the Mediterranean
- Movements of people, migration politics in the Mediterranean
- Issues of “locality” and regionalism in relation to the Mediterranean
- Political implications of “the Mediterranean narrative”
- The politics of “Hellenism”; claims on being the “cradle of civilization” and their implications on cultural and material imperialism
- Postcolonial epistemics of the Mediterranean
- The politics of “Othering” in/of the Mediterranean
- The Mediterranean as stronghold or hindrance for Europe?
For article proposals, send abstracts (max. 2500 characters including spaces) and a short bibliography (max. 10 references) to the following email address: email@example.com
- 20 February 2016: article proposal submission
- 25 February: abstract selection
- 15 April: submission of full articles
- 15 May: double blind peer review deadline
- 15 June: completion of revised versions of articles
- 30 June: publication
The issue will be edited by: Marta Cariello and Iain Chambers.