News | 20 July 2009

UC Funds Mediterranean Studies Multi-Campus Research Project


sealWith an endowment of over $480,000 the University of California has approved a five-year Multi-Campus Research Project on Mediterranean Studies, based at UC Santa Cruz and to begin 1 July 2010. This program will integrate UCSC long-standing Mediterranean Studies initiative, which includes a campus-based activities and an NEH Summer Institute for College and University Professors, and co-ordinate with Mediterranean Studies initiatives at UCLA and UC Santa Barbara.

The Mediterranean Studies MRP will bring together social scientists and humanists from eight UC campuses to collaborate on a range of research and curricular projects relating. At present some 50 UC faculty members in a range of disciplines have committed, as well as nearly 100 associate scholars, including an advisory/editorial board composed of major scholars in a range of fields (see This project builds on our established track record of program development at UCSC, across the UC system, and nationally and internationally.

Mediterranean Studies is an emerging interdisciplinary field, part of the trend towards Oceanic Studies, environmental history, and the reconfiguration of regional and national paradigms in history, literature, art history, religious studies, anthropology, sociology, political science, and related disciplines. It is intended in part as a response and corrective to what are now recognized as distorting tendencies rooted in the national, cultural, geographic and disciplinary categories that have dominated historical discourses regarding the development of society, culture and institutions in Europe, Africa and the Near East.

The MRP has three goals. First, it will provide a forum for interdisciplinary collaboration among scholars of all ranks (including graduate students) from campuses across the UC system. The second is the production and dissemination of new research that will consolidate and give greater intellectual coherence to Mediterranean Studies as a sub-discipline of the Humanities and Social Sciences. The third is to situate UC at the forefront of the development of this new field.

The program consists of quarterly one-day workshops bringing up to 40 UC faculty and graduate students together to review and critique pre-circulated articles in progress. This work will be oriented towards questions concerning the Mediterranean as a region, and/or discuss its peoples, cultures, literatures, economies, etc. within a comparative regional framework. In Year 3 we will hold a mid-program retrospective conference directed principally at scholars from the UC system and other California institutions. The concluding conference in Year 5 will be a field-defining event, including scholars and Mediterranean Studies center directors from the US and abroad.

Dissemination of research output of the MRP will take various forms. It will be shared by the participants of our workshops, who will incorporate it into their own work on both a direct and theoretical level. Two conferences will broadcast our findings to a discrete but active scholarly audience. The principle mode of dissemination will be through the annual publication of a volume of new research based on selected papers from our quarterly meetings. Blind review by our Editorial Board will ensure the highest scholarly standards. The volumes will be professionally-produced hard-copy volumes, published “open source” on our website after two years.


Brian A. Catlos (PI): History, University of California Santa Cruz
Sharon Kinoshita: Literature, University of California Santa Cruz

Collaborating Campus Liaisons

Thomas Dandalet: History, University of California at Berkeley
Zrinka Stahuljak: French & Francophone Studies, University of California Los Angeles
Edward English: Medieval Studies, University of California Santa Barbara

Associated Campus Liaisons

Baki Tezcan: History & Religious Studies, University of California Davis
Marc Baer: History, University of California Irvine
Oumelbanine Zhiri: Literature, University of California San Diego
Benjamin Liu: Hispanic Studies, University of California Riverside