Mediterranean Europe(s): Images and Ideas of Europe from the Mediterranean Shores

9th Annual Symposium of the
Research Network on the History of the Idea of Europe
Istituto Italiano per gli Studi Filosofici – Naples
4-6 July 2018

The economic crisis of the late 2000s, the growing Euroscepticism, and the refugee crisis have recently highlighted the geo-political and geo-cultural centrality of the Mediterranean in any issue concerning Europe.

Within the increasingly important field of Mediterranean Studies, the boundaries of the Mediterranean world(s) have been radically questioned and problematized, leading to new perspectives offering an alternative to occidentalist and Eurocentric narratives. On the one hand, the emergence of new trans-Mediterranean historical approaches – somehow anticipated in the works of Fernand Braudel, Edgar Morin, Predrag Matvejević, Franco Cassano and now re-thought by Maurizio Isabella and Kostantina Zanou – has moved the focus of cultural and intellectual historians from Europe as the place of civilization and modernity to the Mediterranean as a place where lives are shared and values are defined within a multiplicity of loyalties and belongings. On the other hand, European Studies have recently stressed the ambiguity of the geo-cultural polarization between Northern and Southern and Atlantic and Mediterranean Europe(s). Among others, Roberto Dainotto and Maurizio Viroli have offered a problematized vision of Europe that implies the concomitant rejection and acceptance of the Mediterranean.

According to Lucien Febvre, the essence of Europe was its blending of the Northern/Atlantic and the Southern/Mediterranean cultural elements. On the basis of such a notion, it is useful to re-investigate the Mediterranean as a region at once inside and outside of Europe, accepting that contours are, at best, protean. The aim of this international and interdisciplinary conference, organised by the Research Network on the History of the Idea of Europe and hosted by the Istituto Italiano per gli Studi Filosofici, is to bring together cultural and intellectual historians, philosophers, anthropologists, as well as scholars of the arts and literature, and to try to connect more firmly European and Mediterranean studies to shed new light on the place and the role of the Mediterranean in shaping images, ideas, and discourses about Europe from the eighteenth century onwards.

Topics might include – but are by no means limited to:

  • The Mediterranean: a bridge or a border between Europe and its south?
  • The place of the Mediterranean in the history of the ideas of Europe
  • The North of the Mediterranean world – Southern Europe?
  • Orientalising the Southern shores of the Mediterranean and creating Europe
  • Europe, the Mediterranean and religion
  • Diasporas, migrations and European identities
  • Thinking Mediterranean Europe (e.g. Montesquieu, Hegel, De Stäel, Chevalier, Amari, Valéry, Braudel, Unamuno, Chabod, Camus, etc.)

Confirmed keynote speakers will be Prof. Roberto Dainotto (Duke University) and Prof. Konstantina Zanou (Columbia University). If you would like to present a paper (15 minutes) or organise a panel (3/4 speakers), please send an abstract (max. 300 words in English) with a title and a short biography by 27 December 2017 to Dr Fernanda Gallo (, Prof Vittorio Dini (, or Dr Matthew D’Auria ( Please note that the working language will be English. There will be no fees for participating. A limited number of travel grants offered by the Istituto Italiano Studi Filosofici will be available with preference given to non-tenured scholars.

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