A Sea of Literatures: Theories, Concepts, and Methods of Mediterranean Literary Studies
The literatures of the Mediterranean countries have their own profile, which results from the historical intertwining of Mediterranean cultures, beyond the borders of languages and religions. The history of Mediterranean literature dates back far into the past; at the same time it always possessed a high topicality. This can be explained by the character of the Mediterranean, which forms a microcosm in a confined space by the juxtaposition of different cultures, a microcosm that allows us to observe how transnational cultural relations develop. In this context, literature is not only the medium that observes and reflects developments. It is instead itself an engine of such relationships and a generator of cultural meaning. This has recently become evident, for example, in migration literature: migrants coming from Africa who write in the Romance countries do not only write about their experiences; rather, they change the culture they come from and the culture in which they live by writing because they introduce new themes and a new literary language.
However, the current issue of migration literature is just one aspect of the rich repertoire of Mediterranean literature that will be the subject of the proposed conference. The presentations of the conference cover a large diachronic and geographic range, moving from the Middle Ages up to the present time, from Portugal to Italy, from Morocco to Lebanon. The special aim of the conference is to sharpen the profile of literary studies in Mediterranean studies and to make a decisive contribution to its methodological and theoretical foundation.
So far, a historical view has dominated the international Mediterranean. In particular, there is a lack of more uniform conceptual frameworks to define what 'Mediterranean literature' can be. The aim of the conference is to encourage the development of concepts, methodologies and theories of Mediterranean Literary Studies.