4 May 2020: Presentation of the MS ISLA network [via Zoom]
7-8 September 2020: Kick-off workshop on "Islands―their borders and frontiers" at the University of Regensburg
Network members' activities
15 March 2020 (deadline) CfP: Special Section of Island Studies Journal 16(2), November 2021, "Representing islands – producing islandness: Rethinking identities, mobilities, and relations in island research", Guest editors: Sarah Nimführ & Greca N. Meloni.
22-26 June 2020: "Sharing memories: Transgenerational experiences of Jewish exile in the Dominican Republic.” Public talk by Sarah Nimführ at the ISISA Conference 2020: 'Sharing Lessons, Sharing Stories.' Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada
postponed to fall 2021: DRV-Summer School on "Romance Islandness and Mediterranity" at the Department of Romance Studies of the University of Regensburg
Central research questions
1. From a comparative perspective, are there clearly identifiable elements of Mediterranean islandness that can be developed from several individual cases to more comprehensive analysis criteria?
2. How should these Mediterranean island phenomena, whether individual or cross-cutting, be assessed in a European dimension and, subsequently, in a more global framework?
What is an island area? An abstract idea or a concrete landmass surrounded by water? Against the backdrop of transitoriness and translocality and beyond mere archipelagic discourses―this relational approach is already at the core of Mediterranean Studies.
Islandness and identity: How is the awareness of islands being constructed? Which understanding of collectivity is attributed to islands from outside, inside and entangled perspectives? The connection between the understanding of space and the imagination of community should also be discussed.
(Historical) Migration research: In the course of history, islands have not only been areas of settlement but above all transit areas. Islands were frequently territorial “playthings” due to constant changes of domination (e.g. Corfu). Thus, economically different and linguistically diverse regions and (not always conflict-free) multilingualism could develop on one and the same island. Islands may be recognized as independent states (e.g. Malta) or may be part of (mainland) states (e.g. Cres, Mallorca) for which they are of particular strategic and economic importance. Processes of movement and migration can also lead to the linking of islands with mainland coasts and the hinterland.
Islands and functions: Historically, islands often had a strategic function, serving as bases and shelters for foreign rulers or bordering islands (e.g. Lampedusa). For threatened groups, they are still a place of refuge and transit today. They are used as providers of raw materials and food (e.g. Sardinia as the granary of Rome). However, in their function as prisons (e.g. Goli Otok) and quarantine locations (e.g. Asinara), they served as places for the deportation of people. Numerous Mediterranean islands serve tourists and alternative groups and individuals as places of longing and recreation or retreats for non-conformist cultures and experiments as well as for intellectuals.
Imagination and representation of islands: Narratives of Mediterranean islands (literary, filmic, mass and social media, political) are, in contrast to the colonial imagination of tropical islands as tabulae rasae, basically palimpsest-like. Islands are also mental concepts that are opposed to other spatial forms, e.g. city or non-place. Are there further specifics in the representation of Mediterranean islands within the broader discourse on the Mediterranean or even concerning virtual, i.e. utopian islands?
Island and time: Throughout time islands never remain the same. They can pass from one ruler to another and even their geological conditions might change. On islands the relativity of time in relation to space is particularly effective and perceivable. It can often be observed that languages and cultures are conserved. Even getting to an island is a question of time and can influence the experienced islandness.
Transmediterranity: Mediterranean islandness is not necessarily geographically fixed and linked to the Mediterranean region, but can be seen as a bundle of characteristics that can also be found in other areas, such as the Caribbean, the Baltic, the Red and the Arabian Sea or the “Atlantic Mediterranean” (Braudel). An analytical comparison of those areas to the Mediterranean opens up perspectives on empirical relations between different regions against the background of islandness and often in a post-colonial context.
Dr. Jonas Hock (literature and cultural studies scholar at the Department of Romance Studies of the University of Regensburg)
Dr. Laura Linzmeier (linguistic research scholar at the Department of Romance Studies of the University of Regensburg)
Dr. Verena Ebermeier (postdoc research fellow at the Institute for German Studies, Medieval Literature at the University of Regensburg)
Dr. Jan Marschelke (manager of and postdoc researcher at the Institute for the Studies of Culture and Collectivity at the University of Regensburg)
Dr. Jacqueline Nießer (research fellow at the Leibniz-Institute for East and Southeast European Studies (IOS) and an associated lecturer at the University of Regensburg)
Dr. des. Andreas Guidi (research associate of the working group Modern and Contemporary History at the University of Konstanz)
Dr. Thorsten Kruse (research associate at the Institute for Interdisciplinary Cypriot Studies and lecturer at the Department of History at the University of Münster)
Dr. des. Sarah Nimführ (research associate at the Department of European Ethnology at the University of Vienna)
Dr. Davide Soares da Silva (research associate at the Faculty of Languages and Literatures at the LMU Munich)
During the three-year funding period, we are planning five workshops, of which three at UR and two with (inter-)national cooperation partners.
September 2020: Islands―their borders and frontiers
March 2021: Imagination, Representation and Virtuality of Islands
Autumn 2021: Islands as Transit Areas, Living Spaces and Places of Experience
Summer 2022: Times of the Island―Islands through time
March 2023: Beyond the Mediterranean―Islands and Transmediterranity
Research cooperation partners
- Leibniz Institute for East and Southeast European Studies (IOS, Regensburg)
- Centre for Mediterranean Studies (ZMS, University of Bochum)
- Institute for Interdisciplinary Cypriot Studies (University of Münster)
- DFG research network The Modern Mediterranean: Dynamics of a World Region 1800|2000
Third mission cooperation partner
- AK Film e.v. / Filmgalerie im Leeren Beutel