Mediterranean Maritime History Network (MMHN)
A number of historians working on Mediterranean maritime history met at the Third International Congress of Maritime History in Esbjerg, Denmark, in August 2000, and decided on a number of measures to try to bring scholars working in the this area of study closer together. The principal aim of the MMHN is to act as a clearinghouse for the exchange of information concerning research currently underway relating to Mediterranean maritime history topics. The MMHN centres on the period from the thirteenth century to the twentieth century and subscribes to a wide concept of maritime history to include the following categories:
1. The use of the resources of the sea and what lies beneath it, including fishing and related activities, and the economic and social life of the communities dependent upon them.
2. The sea as a means of communication, namely the carriage of people, goods and ideas, and the structures associated with this phenomenon, such as ports and the communities within which these are lodged. This category is the broadest in maritime history and includes: sea-borne trade; shipping in all its facets, as well as ancillary institutions such as insurance, finance and registers; navigation; sea-related labour; island and port communities; and so on.
3. The sea as a medium for the projection of power. This means naval power, strategy and technology; government policies relating to the control of the sea and its resources; as well as commerce-raiding, corsairing and piracy.
4. The use of the sea for scientific purposes via oceanography, climatology and so on, as well as government policies regarding marine science and technology in a historical perspective.
5. The sea as a space for leisure. This refers, first and foremost, to the Mediterranean's premier economic activity, namely tourism. The sea and the coast conceived as a regenerative environment and a focus for recreation in general and the practice of aquatic sports in particular.
6. Last but not least, the sea as a source of inspiration in culture and ideology: this includes, for example, the role of the sea in art and literature, as well as the sea in a nation’s self-image.
|Highlights of Past Activities
1 st MMHN Conference (Valletta, Malta 2002)
A first conference, held in Valletta, Malta, in April 2002, brought together more than thirty researchers from Britain, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Spain, Tunisia and Malta, and was particularly useful as a meeting place for researchers from the French and English speaking worlds. Indeed, with the benefit of hindsight, one could say that it constituted an informal, regional pre-conference for the Fourth Maritime History Congress held in Corfu in 2004.
Journal of Mediterranean Studies No. 12/2
From the Malta conference there emerged a publication, a Special Issue of the Journal of Mediterranean Studies (Volume 12, No. 2, Year 2002), containing a selection of papers from the conference by Alain Blondy, Salvatore Bottari, Sadok Boubaker, Michela D'Angelo, Michel Fonteney, Thomas Freller, Henry Frendo, Ruthy Gertwagen, Simon Mercieca, Gerassimos Pagratis, and Daniel Panzac.
Directory of Mediterranean Maritime Historians
The first meeting in Malta also called for the preparation of a Directory of Mediterranean Maritime Historians setting out the name, contact details and research interests of those working in this field of endeavour, to facilitate exchanges between scholars. The present Directory of Mediterranean Maritime Historians sets out information on nearly 200 historians working in the field of Mediterranean maritime history from nearly two dozen different countries. It is periodically updated with new additions and fresh details as these become available. It can be accessed at http://home.um.edu.mt/medinst/mmhn/1_mmhn_directory.pdf
Research in Maritime History No. 28
Another consequence of the setting up of the MMHN, and what probably constitutes the culmination of the measures taken subsequent to the Esbjerg 2000 decision to organize and give more prominence to the Mediterranean and its maritime historians, is Volume 28 of Research in Maritime History. Entitled New Directions in Maritime History, and edited by Gelina Harlaftis and Carmel Vassallo and published in 2005, it looks at the bibliography on maritime history produced in recent decades in Spain, France, Italy, Malta, Slovenia, Greece, Turkey, and Israel.
2nd MMHN Conference (Messina/Taormina, Italy 2006)
The 2nd MMHN Conference, organized at Messina and Taormina, in Sicily in May 2006, brought together nearly 100 papers on a wide range of topics relating to the maritime history of the Mediterranean by scholars from Australia, Belgium, Cyprus, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Spain, Tunisia, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The event was characterised by the participation of many up-and-coming young researchers and impeccable hospitality from Professor Michela D’Angelo and her team.
Click here for reduced versions of many of the papers.
Click here for a picture gallery showing some of the participants at work and play.
Anglo-Saxons in the Mediterranean
One of the best attended sessions at the Fourth Maritime History Congress held in Corfu in 2004 was Anglo-Saxons in the Mediterranean. A publication bearing that same name, edited by Carmel Vassallo and Michela D’Angelo, was published at the beginning of 2007 with a selection of papers from the congress (Salvatore Bottari, Rosario Lentini, Michela D’Angelo, Tito Benady, Carmel Vassallo, Gigliola Pagano de Devitiis, Rosario Battaglia, Sergio Di Giacomo and Miquel Casasnovas Camps) and others who were invited to contribute (David De Vries, Colin Heywood, Klearchos Kyriakides and Gerassimos Pagratis).
Journal of Mediterranean Studies No. 16/1
A Special Issue of the Journal of Mediterranean Studies containing a selection of twenty papers and short communications in English and French has been published. It contains contributions by Seven Agir; Rosaria Bottari; L. Botter, O. Giovanardi and S. Raicevich; C.I. Chessel; Oliver Craig, Marco Biazzio and Mary Anne Tafuri; Diletta D’Andrea; Fabio P. Di Vita; Eric Dursteler; Mario Ellul; Jean Pierre Farganel; Ruthy Gertwagen; Ivan Grech; Maura Hametz; K. A. J. McLay; Katerina Papakonstantinou; Brian Sandberg; Maria Sirago; Salvatore Speziale; Athena Trakadas; and Carmel Vassallo. Complete Conference Proceedings will be published in Italian by the University of Messina.
MMHN Website selected by INTUTE for inclusion in its online service
The University of Malta hosted website of the MMHN has been selected by the UK-based INTUTE for inclusion in its free online service providing access to “the very best Web resources for education and resources, selected and evaluated by a network of subject specialists. “ The service is provided by a consortium of UK universities and partners and is funded by the UK’s Joint Information Systems Committee which provides world-class leadership in the innovative use of ICT to support education and research.
|News & Forthcoming Activities
MMHN Izmir Conference 5-7 May 2010 - Call for Papers
We are just over a year from our Izmir Conference, which is to take place at the Izmir University of Economics in Izmir, Turkey, on the 5, 6, and 7 May 2010.
|A web site is available here.
The site is still under construction by our man in Izmir, Dr M. Ufuk Tutun, whom some of you will have met in Sicily in 2006, but you can already find a call for papers. Proposals are to be submitted by the 31 August 2009. You will recall that our host, the Izmir Economics University, has undertaken to secure sponsorship and other support which will minimize the financial outlay of participants, an important consideration given the straitened circumstances we are going through. In addition, the IEU is to organize visits to places of archaeological and historical interest in Izmir and the surrounding area. A special issue of the Journal of Mediterranean Studies has been set aside for a selection of the papers. Professor Lewis Fisher, whom most of you will already know as one of the world's leading maritime historians and editor of both the International Journal of Maritime History and the Research in Maritime History series, has indicated his intention of being with us. If you have any suggestions concerning the format of the Izmir conference do let me know.
Updating of Directory of Mediterranean Maritime Historians
The Directory has been updated. I urge you to check out new additions or amendments in details for the following:
Constantin Ardeleanu (Romania); Tito Benady (UK); Angel Calvo (Spain); Jose-Luis Cortes (France); Sjoerd De Meer (The Netherlands); Michel Fontenay (France); Zisis Fotakis (Greece); Marta Garcia Garralon (Spain); Ivan Grech (Malta); Mark Hunter (Canada); Lois Swanick (USA); and Tuncay Zorlu (Turkey).
SIHMED (Société Internationale des Historiens de la. Méditerranée)
As MMHN Coordinator, I was invited to the re-launch of SIHMED on the delightful island of Procida, in the Gulf of Naples, towards the end of September 2008. During the proceedings, a much-revamped Lettre de liason was circulated, three years after the last issue. SIHMED's secretariat is now based at the University of Naples (L'Orientale) and is under the direction of Professor Luigi Mascilli Migliorini. During the course of my meeting with the latter we discussed the possibility of cooperation between SIHMED and MMHN, with their strengths in the French and English-speaking academic worlds respectively. I also suggested the possibility of Izmir being a joint endeavour. Despite a follow-up email and several reminders I have not had any reaction from Professor Mascilli Migliorini or anyone at SIHMED and there is still no sign of their promised web site either. Indeed, I have still to hear concerning the reimbursement of the expenses I incurred in travelling to Procida. I shall not hold my breath.
Centre for Maritime Historical Studies at the University of Exeter
Our colleague Maria Fusaro continues her excellent work at Exeter, working closely with academics of the calibre of Professor Dionisius Agius, of that university's Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies. She has given notice of two events this coming summer:
On 9-12 July, 2009 Exeter will hold a conference entitled, "Merchants, Merceneries and Missionaries: The Society and Culture of the Medieval Mediterranean."
| Further info is available here.
Together with Amélia Polónia, Maria is also organizing a panel for the 15th World Economic History Congress in Utrecht 3-7 August, on behalf of the International Maritime Economic History Association, entitled "Maritime History as Global History".
| Maria may be reached by email.
Aurora Ocean Exploration and Education Trust
Our colleague Timmy Gambin has informed us concerning an upcoming conference on "Ships, Saints and Sealore: Maritime Ethnography of the Mediterranean and the Red Sea" to be held at the National Maritime Museum of Malta, which some of you will already have visited during the Ist MMHN Conference held in Malta in 2002.
|More information is available here.
Timmy has also indicated that the Aurora Ocean Exploration and Education Trust has just launched a new website
I had a brief look and it looks extremely interesting.
|MMHN Directory of Maritime Historians of then Mediterranean
Prof. Carmel Vassallo
Coordinator - Mediterranean Maritime History Network
20 March 2009
All correspondence should be addressed to the
Prof. Carmel Vassallo
University of Malta
Msida MSD 2080 Malta
Fax +356 21336450