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Mediterranean Studies and the Remaking of Pre-modern Europe

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Why have we begun to study the Mediterranean again and what new perspectives have opened up our renewed understanding? This review article surveys recent research in a number of disciplines to ask three questions about Mediterranean Studies today: What is the object of study? What methodologies can be used to study it? And what it all means? The general problem of the object of study in Mediterranean Studies in its ecological, economic, social, political, and cultural dimensions is introduced in a summary of the works of Pergrine Horden and Nicholas Purcell, Michael McCormick, Chris Wickham, and David Abulafia. Recent methodologies suggested by Peter Burke, Christian Bromberger, Ottomanists, art historians, and literary scholars emphasize both the macro-historical and micro-historical level in order to understand both the local and the regional, material culture and beliefs, mentalities, and social practices as well as its internal dynamics and external relations. The end results point to three conclusions: the relationship between structures and mechanisms of change internally and interactions externally, comparisons with “other Mediterraneans” outside the Mediterranean, and to connections with the Atlantic World in the remaking of premodern Europe then and now.

Affiliations: 1: University of California San Diego


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