The Conference Cultures, Hopes and Conflicts. The Mediterranean between Land and Sea
, jointly organized by the ICSR Mediterranean Knowledge and the Consortium Mediterranean Worlds, aims to collect contributions that address the most important questions related to the Mediterranean Basin from the point of view of different social and human sciences. The Mediterranean is a sea of cultures, as its shore witnessed the dawn of knowledge: from historiography to philosophy, from natural sciences to political sciences. The Mediterranean, furthermore, is a nexus of civilizations and ethnicities, which have constantly interacted through clashes and peaceful encounters. Indeed, the Mediterranean has always been a meeting place between East and West; this is even more true today as the Mediterranean seems to have become more fragmented and divided between different “worlds”: the secular Western Europe, the Arab-Islamic North Africa and Middle East, the orthodox Christianity of Greece and other Balkan countries, the Jewish culture of Israel, to mention only the most important. However, one should consider that each of these “worlds” reveals in its internal ethnical, territorial, and social tensions, which adds up to the richness and the peculiarity of the «Mare nostrum». The Mediterranean, furthermore, is also a sea of hopes: the hopes of hundreds of thousands of migrants who desperately try to cross the sea, on the run from hunger and conflicts; the hope of a fair and lasting peace for those who live in countries affected by civil wars and ethno-religious clashes.
Indeed, the Mediterranean is also a sea of conflicts: armed confrontations (think of Libya, Syria, and Israel-Palestine, as well as the phenomenon of terrorism and the military interventions of Western countries in the Middle East), social clashes (for examples, those provoked by the great economic recession of the Mediterranean countries), cultural battles (mainly related to the confrontation between different mentalities and ways of life), and political disputes (from the recent Arab spring to the growth of new political forces in Europe, both to the right and the left wings), all taking place along its shores.
Analysing the above-mentioned phenomena requires a rather multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary approach, in order to bring together the contribution of different social sciences; history, sociology, philosophy, literary sciences, economy must cooperate in providing tools for a proper understanding of a complex and multi-faceted reality.