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On Bazaars and Battlefields: Recent Scholarship on Mediterranean Cultural Contacts

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image of Journal of Early Modern History

For the past century, the field of Mediterranean Studies has been primarily dominated by two paradigms that appear on the surface, at least, to be mutually exclusive: the bifurcated Mediterranean of the battlefield, and the linked Mediterranean suggested by the region’s many bazaars and other places of encounter and exchange. But when the dotted lines separating the color-coded civilizations inscribed on maps of the Mediterranean are erased, when we begin to question and to breach its boundaries, new patterns of interaction materialize which fundamentally call into question many cherished assumptions about the sea, and about familiar and time-worn categories such as east and west, Ottoman and European, Muslim and Christian. In their place we are able to perceive a more nuanced and complex world of contention, as well as commerce, connection and even coexistence.

Affiliations: 1: Brigham Young University


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