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The Medieval Mediterranean: Local and Global Perspectives

Published December 04, 2020 by Jessica Tearney-Pearce

'The Medieval Mediterranean: Local and Global Perspectives' – Society for the Medieval Mediterranean and Woolf Institute new (currently virtual) seminar series

Included amongst the myriad professional disappointments 2020 has brought is the loss of intellectual and social meetings with colleagues. Many breakthroughs, inspirations, collaborations, mentorships and career-long working relationships begin at conferences, seminars, meetings in archives and otherwise in the field. For sociable academics who thrive off conferencing, engaging with colleagues, meeting friends and collaborators, this has hampered projects old, current and future.

Nevertheless, we seek the brighter things, of which some have arisen from this situation. We're now generally much better at video calling – something particularly helpful for academics who as a matter of normality collaborate across institutions, borders, seas and oceans. And this has led to much enriched – and much more accessible – seminar programmes. Although never comparable to those in person which allow for chatter before and discussions over dinner afterwards, these permit – at much reduced cost financially – speakers from far and wide to present their research to different audiences and collaborate for panel discussions with geographically distant colleagues.

The Society for the Medieval Mediterranean and the Woolf Institute hosted two successful virtual events in the summer: Contact, Communication, Collaboration and Transfer, translation, and re-use between faiths: a view from Medieval Iberia to which we invited engaging panellists and speakers as well as allowing time for audience interaction. We also keep the 'Zoom room' open for a while at the end for those who'd like to hang around as at a 'normal' seminar and ask additional questions.

Following this success, the Society for the Medieval Mediterranean's President (Antonella Liuzzo Scorpo), Vice-President (Esther-Miriam Wagner) and Web/Social Media Officer (yours truly) decided to make this official. In collaboration now also with other colleagues: Prof. Roser Salicrú i Lluch (CSIC IMF, Barcelona), Dr Alessandro Rizzo (Université Liège) and Dr Anais Waag (University of Lincoln), we are delighted to present: 'The Medieval Mediterranean: Local and Global Perspectives'.

With a focus on the eastern and western Mediterranean between the 5th and 15th centuries, the series aims to promote innovative cross-cultural and interdisciplinary research. It intends to provide a forum for discussion and interdisciplinary debate on pre-modern Mediterranean spaces, people and ideas from local and trans-local perspectives. As a fluid space, the Mediterranean is conceptualised and studied as a frontier, a migration route and a channel of contact and communication between and across diverse socio-political, economic, religious and cultural contexts. Examining the Mediterranean as both the epicentre and a receiver of Eastern and Western traditions and influences, enhances dialogue across disciplines, while shedding new light on the complex dynamics that framed, regulated and shaped the contours of its real and imagined landscape. The series will focus on some core themes, such as inter-faith contacts and communication, movement and mobility, crosspollination of cultures and ideas – explored from historical, archaeological, legal, literary, philosophical and artistic perspectives.

former Benedictine monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes, province of Girona, Catalonia

The seminar will meet on occasional Tuesdays throughout the academic year, approximately once a month and at 6pm UK time.

Some themes for the 2020/21 series are:

At the first event, on 15 December 2020 at 6pm GMT, chair Dr Antonella Liuzzo Scorpo will introduce a panel of early career scholars speaking on:

'Queenship studies across the Medieval Mediterranean and Western Europe'

Places are limited and registration is open here:

To keep updated with the series, follow the Society for the Medieval Mediterranean on Twitter @socmedimedit or Facebook or check out their webpage:

Jessica Tearney-Pearce is the Web & Social Media Officer for the Society for the Medieval Mediterranean and the Assistant Editor of the Society's journal al-Masāq.

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