Locating disease in the Mediterranean

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk


    Abstract: The Mediterranean region has famously provided a waterway for commerce, communication and conflict across environmentally and socially highly diverse places and peoples for centuries. At least from the perspective of scholars from Europe, it has been depicted as a major crossroads between west and east, north and south, compass points which also imply a hierarchical set of differences between those locations and their peoples. Inevitably, the regular interactions between these places and peoples also meant that the region provided a means for diseases to spread across the same routes. Two diseases in particular, plague and cholera, were so devastating that they drove the political and commercial powers involved in the Mediterranean, who were often competitors and even enemies in both trade and war, to try to coordinate their collective responses to these diseases. Focusing on the Ottomans, this paper explores how the different, and often mutually contradictory, interests, powers and discourses involved in this debate - commercial, political, religious and scientific - became involved in informing responses to the spread of disease across the region over time. The paper argues that a key difference in how the various political regimes responded was not related to diverse cultural or religious beliefs, nor only related to commercial interests or scientific-medical understanding of the disease, but crucially related to how each regime organised their states, and in particular, the concepts of location and territory that they deployed.
    Period4 Oct 2019
    Event titleSéminaire de l’Idemec, Aix-en-Provence: Centre for Mediterranean Studies seminar series
    Event typeSeminar
    LocationAix-en-Provence, FranceShow on map
    Degree of RecognitionInternational