skip to content
Interdisciplinary Research Lab for Mediterranean Studies

Mediterranean Liminalities

Map overlay of ©Matthew Harpster’s Ancient Shipwrecks and ©Kilin’s Shipmap of Contemporary Maritime Transport (Originally from Holdermann et al. 2020: 187)

The Mediterranean Liminalities Research Lab

Mediterranean Liminalities is an interdisciplinary research lab located at the University of Cologne that brings together the various departments and individual researchers from the social sciences, humanities but als natural and engineering sciences working on and in the Mediterranean region at the University of Cologne. The lab also seeks to establish its role as a future research hub for connecting and promoting international innovative research projects in the Mediterranean.

In order to capture the interdisciplinary nature of the Lab as well as the multi-layered entanglements of the Mediterranean region, we propose to work with the perspective of a ‘nested Mediterranean’, in which overlapping zones of different scale form and dissolve at an uneven pace, and lend themselves to different forms of belonging in an increasingly capricious environment. In order to critically rethink borders, connections, and disconnections, and without neglecting histories of global entanglements, we pay close attention to what has been called dynamics of involution, which remain crucial for a Mediterranean. A ‘nested Mediterranean’ thus accounts for situated complexities, as documented not only in the ethnographic archive but also in, and for, Mediterranean scholarship, that include contradictory discourses and dynamics, and are recalibrated in situ; it collapses binary distinctions and the clear-cut distribution of social, political, and discursive power.