Union in Separation – Trading Diasporas in the Eastern Mediterranean (1200-1700)
International Conference, Heidelberg, 17-19 February 2011
Call for Papers
“Union in Separation” is a three-day international conference hosted by the Trading Diasporas research group at Heidelberg University. The conference focuses on transcultural diasporic communities in the medieval and early modern Mediterranean with specific respect to their role in trade between perceived separate cultural areas.
The term “transculturality” tends to be used to designate the hybrid character of modern-day societies and to ultimately argue that separate cultural units (defined as the sum of elements that characterise the aggregate identity of a society) do not exist. However, regardless of whether it is possible to speak of separate ‘cultures’, the construct continues to persist in people’s mind. These mindsets, their creation and their impact on societies is what historians are now investigating.
The study of Mediterranean diasporas lends itself well to this endeavour, as it allows for an understanding of the construction and deconstruction of cultural differences as well as the potential integration into a host culture. In order to best analyse these processes, we suggest exploring commercial exchange and its legal framework as two interrelated phenomena.
Medieval Mediterranean trading diasporas, such as Venetian merchants residing in Mamluk Alexandria, operated both within and outside of formal legal structures. However, their status as religious minorities often posed strong challenges to their business. For instance, far-reaching privileges granted by the Sultan to Christian merchants coexisted with, and were frequently challenged by, orthodox Islamic law and/or local legal practice.
Thus, a primary interest of historical transcultural research is to gather evidence on informal mechanisms that facilitated trade-given cultural hurdles. This will shed light on the form and scope of cultural exchange.
The conference will bring together academics from a wide variety of fields, including medieval studies, history (including economic, legal, art history), and cultural studies.
Legal Pluralism and Diasporic Communities in Historical Perspective (Teresa Sartore)
Diasporic Communities in Rhodes 1350-1450 (Teresa Sartore)
Diasporic Groups in Mamluk Egypt 1300-1450 (Anna Katharina Angermann)
Diasporas and Imperial Rule in the 13th C. Aegean (Stefan Burkhardt)
Trade Networks in the Later Middle Ages (Lars Börner, Franz Julius Morche)
Early Modern Italy's Diasporas (Roberto Zaugg)
Please send an abstract of no more than 300 words and a short CV to the respective panel organizer as well as to Teresa Sartore and Georg Christ. PhD students are encouraged to participate as well. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you wish to propose an entire panel. There is a limited availability of travel grants for PhD students.
Deadline for Abstracts: 30.09.2010
Call for Posters
The poster session is intended to provide a forum for researchers and PhD students willing to present their work and obtain feedback from our conference attendees. Areas of interest include the same as those listed in the call for papers as well as projects in the wider realm of Transcultural Studies/Transculturality and Medieval and Early Modern History of the Mediterranean with an overlap to the conference’ themes and applied methodologies. The posters do not have to present completed research projects only, but also preliminary results and works in progress. We especially encourage submissions by PhD students.
Poster proposals should be submitted as a single PDF file with no more than 2 pages. The first page should contain an abstract describing the research content of the poster, along with title, authors, institutional affiliations and contact information. The poster dimensions are A0. The second page should contain a thumbnail draft of the poster's contents. Please submit your poster proposal as a PDF e-mail attachment with the subject line "Union in Separation” to firstname.lastname@example.org
Authors of accepted poster proposals will have a chance to present the poster to interested attendees during two poster sessions on Friday 18 February 2011. For the best poster a prize will be awarded. There is a limited availability of travel grants for PhD students, please see the conference website.
Deadline for poster submissions: 30.09.2010.
Contact and further information
For further details on the conference and travel grant application procedures, please visit our website: