A) Collaborative Projects

DFG-Network "Modernes Mittelmeer: Dynamiken einer Weltregion 1800-2000" (2018-2021)

As a result of current conflicts, crises and wars, the Mediterranean is back on the agenda in the social sciences. Yet, in the field of modern history this paradigm has barely received any attention. The network therefore aims to transcend the fragmentation of separate historiographies and provide an integrated view of the late modern period of the region. It focuses on the dynamics and transformations in the region between 1800 and 2000.
Instead of taking the Mediterranean as a natural given, the network will explore how this space was invented and shaped in the modern age. Against Mediterraneanist myths of Mediterranean unity, continuity and singularity, the region is conceived as a contact zone between Africa, Asia and Europe which was connected to and is comparable with other regions of the world.
The network members and guests will meet at German Mediterranean research centres (Deutsches Historisches Institut, Rom; Deutsch- Italienisches Studienzentrum, Venedig; Orient Institut, Beirut; Orient Institut, Istanbul; Zentrum für Mittelmeerstudien, Bochum; Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin) to explore themes which are at the core of current debates on Mediterranean history: modernity and tradition, port cites and islands, mobility and borders, ideology and religion, knowledge and representation, transnational and global history.
There will be a number of publications based on the results of the network discussions, among them an anthology of texts representing the new historiography of the modern Mediterranean. Thus, Mediterranean history will not only be presented as an innovative field of historical research but also as a new approach that combines European and non-European perspectives in a productive way and helps us to understand what is at stake in the region at the moment and in the future.


Prof. Dr. Patrick Bernhard, University of Oslo
Jun.-Prof. Dr. Manuel Borutta, Ruhr-Universität Bochum
Jasmin Daam, Universität Kassel
Dr. Fernando Esposito, Eberhard Karls Universität, Tübingen
Dr. Malte Fuhrmann, Istanbul Bilgi University
Andreas Guidi, Humboldt-Universität, Berlin und EHESS, Paris
PD Dr. Nora Lafi, Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin
Jun.-Prof. Dr. Fabian Lemmes, Ruhr-Universität Bochum
Dr. Esther Möller, Leibniz-Institut für Europäische Geschichte (IEG), Mainz
Stefan Preiß, Ruhr-Universität Bochum
Christian Saßmannshausen, Freie Universität Berlin
Daniel Tödt, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin

Centre for Mediterranean Studies

The Centre for Mediterranean Studies connects Mediterranean research from all disciplines and epoches in the German area. In contrast to the “Mediterranisms” of colonialism and cold war, it does not postulates an entity, continuity, specificity or singularity of the region. Instead, it conceives the Mediterranean region as an African, Asian and Europen contact zone, which is comparable to and was intertwined with other fluvial, maritime and terrestrial places of interaction.

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Field of Competence "Metropolitan Studies"

The field of competence "Metropolitan Studies" of the UA Ruhr aims to establish an internationally visible centre of inter- and transdisziplinary Metropolitan Studies, which concentrates the complementary competences of the three partner universities encompassing different disciplinary cultures and which benefits from the region's strong points through the interconnectedness with not university related research facilities and practical partners.

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B) Individual Projects

Mediterranean Entanglements: France and Algeria between Colonization and Decolonization, 1827-1976 (Second Book)

This monograph examines Mediterranean entanglements between France and Algeria during the colonial and the postcolonial period. Its principal goal is to explore the Mediterranean dimension of the French colonization and decolonization of Algeria and to contribute to a better understanding of the specific role Southern France played within these processes. By analyzing interactions between port cities, rural areas of the Midi, and the island of Corsica on the one hand and Algeria on the other, the project brings together strands of scholarship that are compartmentalized into subfields overcoming dichotomies between metropolitan and colonial history as it has been demanded by postcolonial scholars during the last decades. A core hypothesis is that Southern Europe and North Africa were so closely linked in the imperial age that they cannot be analyzed separately. In this way, the book argues for a partial integration of Mediterranean history into the field of European history.

Investigator: Manuel Borutta

Kolonialismus, katholische Mission und laïcité:
Die Pères Blancs in der Kabylei 1868-1919 (PhD thesis)

This graduate thesis project analyzes the mission of the „White Fathers“ in Kabylia in the Northeast of Algeria between the Second French Empire and the inter-war period. The examined topics include firstly the ideological motivation of Cardinal Charles Lavigerie, the founder of the order, secondly the conflicts between the missionaries and the representatives of the French colonial state, thirdly the missionary practice on the spot. The thesis will on the one hand highlight the imperial exchange between Metropolitan France and its principal settlement colony Algeria. On the other hand, it is thought to show transnational transfers in global Catholicism between France, Rome and Algeria which connected Europe and Africa in a new way during the 19th and 20th centuries. Finally the study will analyse colonial encounters and interactions between catholic clergymen and Muslims in North Africa. Therefore it is situated between the fields of political, religious and colonial history. At the same time, it is thought to contribute to a deepened understanding of French religious policy and the concept of laïcité which had different effects on Catholic and Muslim religious communities in Metropolitan France and the Algerian colony.

Investigator: Stefan Preiß
This project is funded by the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes.

Germany, the Promised Land: Expectations and Experiences of Algerian Immigrants since the Arab Revolution until the New Year’s Eve in Cologne (PhD thesis)

The dissertation project explores the immigration of Algerian migrants to the Federal Republic of Germany since the dawn of the Arab Revolution in 2011 up to the New Year’s Eve in Cologne. The migration of mainly young male Algerians is a new phenomenon in Germany. Whereas in the past Algeria was classified as a main transit region for Sub-Saharan refugees, nowadays young Algerians – driven by a lack of prospects and hopelessness - are increasingly searching a better future on the other side of the Mediterranean.
Following their points of view, their home country has reached a political, economical and social impasse. A large part of the younger population wants to leave the country in the direction of Europe. The classic destination country for Algerian immigrants is France. However, the recent year, there has been a massive increase in the number of arrivals of Algerians in the Federal Republic. How to explain this phenomenon? Is it just a short-term appearance, which is related to the German ‘welcome culture’ or does Germany rather serve as a positive contrasting foil with France? What are the expectations of the immigrants? And how do they contrast with their actual experiences?

Investigator: Sina Khatal
Cotutelle-doctorate with the Université François Rabelais de Tours (Prof. Dr. Christine de Gemeaux)
This project is funded by a startup-scholarship provided by the Centre for Mediterranean Studies