Libro de los juegos de Alphonso X el savio, 1262-1283 ca.

Multi-Ethnic Cities in the Mediterranean World. History, Culture, Heritage


Libro de los juegos de Alphonso X el savio, 1262-1283 ca.
Libro de los juegos de Alphonso X el savio, 1262-1283 ca.



We witness today a huge flow of foreigners pouring into a city that barely contains them. They are mostly homeless people: they come from all over the world, driven by ambition, need of work, their role of ambassadors; some urged by their vices, others by the desire to study; some drawn by the shows, others by the chance of intertwining relationships or under the weight of misfortune… They rush all together, having left their homes, hoping to find an opportunity in this city which is the capital of the whole world but not theirs.

Those words have been written by Seneca about two thousand years ago, commenting the abnormal growth of the city of Rome. Seemingly, they look very appropriate to describe some of the typical phenomena of today’s world. Nevertheless, almost everything has changed since ancient times: there has been the affirmation of monotheism and the split of the Mediterranean world; the unexpected discovery of new lands and their systematic exploitation; the industrial revolution and the end (?) of colonialism; the Reformation, the Declaration of Human Rights, the Second World War… The very nature of cities in the last few centuries has profoundly changed too, both in their internal structure and in their relations with the regional, national and international context. Center- periphery relations, the economic fabric and the networks of social integration, culture gaps and the patterns of sociability: these are only some among the many fields in which scale variations over the centuries have produced diverse and somehow heterogeneous urban landscapes. Also, the concepts of citizenship, ‘race’, ethnicity have been written and rewritten several times.

Against this background, in the Mediterranean world the encounter/clash of people and civilizations has always been particularly rich, varied, intense, going often so far as to deeply mould the shape of cities: both along the coasts of the Mediterranean and in the hinterland of countries overlooking it, for which the sea was an undisputable horizon of reference. Urban developments and settlement patterns bear witness to those processes (ports, fairs, fondachi, ghetti), as well as

linguistic uses and eating habits, social and juridical customs; as do many of the most typical expressions of European art and culture, as a result of an ancient − albeit not always peaceful – familiar coexistence with foreigners.

This meeting aims to foster a discussion about the continuities and disruptions which have conditioned the multi-ethnic dimension of our cities. We would like to focus on the specificities of places and time in our millennial history that have produced both tangible and intangible cultural heritage (a heritage which today seems strongly under attack). We aim for a historical perspective

–   by drawing attention on well-documented case-studies offering comparative insights – without however forgetting to ask ourselves the meaning of our research in the troubled world we live in; without anachronisms, but also without hiding behind the pretext of specialisms, while in front of our eyes the Mediterranean world is more than ever a theatre of death, exclusion, suffering. In other words, we would like to broaden the traditional horizons of our disciplines under the issues of our times, questioning the role of historical research and the forms of scientific communication nowadays, when old practices seem more challenged than ever by the overwhelming expansion of new technologies.

On these grounds, the meeting will be structured so as to allow the maximum of flexibility both in the forms and contents of the discussion. Depending on the number and subject of the selected proposals, the Scientific Committee will organise some thematic/chronological sessions, entrusted to discussants who will introduce and lead the debate. Furthermore, the applicants are also strongly encouraged to submit proposals based on new forms of dissemination, such as posters, video/photographic footage, multimedia installations; these will be included in an exhibition taking place alongside the meeting in Genoa and later traveling to other venues.

At the end of the meeting, a roundtable discussion led by a journalist will retrace the major issues raised and promote a general debate in the light of the most relevant concerns of our times.


Call for papers is now open for proposals on any topic consistent with the lines mentioned above, with no chronological or disciplinary limits. In selecting the applications, however, the Scientific Committee will give priority to case-studies presented in a comparative perspective, capable of stimulating cross-cutting interests. Topics could include, but are not limited to:

•  Towns and migrations in the Mediterranean world

•  Nations, empires, metropolis: the multiethnic dimension of capital cities

•  Tangible and/or intangible walls, barriers, fencing: old and new practices of urban segregation

•  Identity landmarks in urban space

•   The controversial heritage: the transmission of a composite memory within a multi-ethnic society

•  Between two (or more) peoples: brokers, interpreters, translators, vocabularies

•  Norms, rights, ideologies of citizenship

•  Minorities in cities: settlement strategies and integration trends

•  Places of welcome, places of exclusion

•  Colonies / Colonialisms: old models, new contexts

•  Resource or threat? Foreigners in towns in times of trouble

•  The arts: means of dominion, expression of identity

•  Border cities and places (ports, coasts, crossings points)

Proposals can take different forms, provided they are methodological concerned: short papers (max 10-15 minutes), posters, video footage and/or photographic shows, multimedia installations. In these latter cases, the Scientific Committee reserves the right to ask the selected authors to adjust their proposals according to the technical constraints of the exhibition’s venue. Proposals must be submitted via email to convegno2018@ by the deadline of February 11, 2018, with a brief abstract (max 1000 chars) and a curriculum vitae of the author (max 1000 chars).

Acceptance will be notified by March 15, 2018. All selected materials will be published online on AISU website (in Italian, English or French), with ISBN and after double blind peer review. A choice of the most original and interesting works will be also collected for further publication in a book that will be submitted to a top-rank publishing house.

J.-F. Rauzier, Barcelona veduta ,2011
J.-F. Rauzier, Barcelona veduta ,2011


  • AISU Members/senior: 80 €
  • AISU Members/junior: 20 €
  • AISU Non Members/senior: 180 €
  • AISU Non Members/senior: 100 €
  • After May 1, 2018 these fees will be charged of additional 30€


  • Opening of the call for papers 1 December 2017
  • Closing of the call 11 February 2018
  • Notification of the acceptance of proposals 15 March 2018
  • Beginning of the early registration 15 March 2018
  • Closing of the early registration 1 May 2018
  • Deadline for sending the papers/materials to be published or exhibited 15 May 2018


  • Salvo Adorno, Università di Catania
  • Alfredo Buccaro, Università di Napoli Federico II Teresa Colletta, Università di Napoli Federico II
  • Giovanni Cristina, École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales Gerardo Doti, Università di Camerino
  • Marco Folin, Università di Genova Luigi Fontana, Università di Padova Andrea Maglio, Università di Napoli
  • Fabio Mangone, Università di Napoli Federico II
  • Francesca Martorano, Università Mediterranea di Reggio Calabria Luca Mocarelli, Università di Milano Bicocca
  • Sergio Onger, Università di Brescia Heleni Porfyriou, CNR-ICVBC Marco Pretelli, Università di Bologna Fulvio Rinaudo, Politecnico di Torino
  • Massimiliano Savorra, Università del Molise Donatella Strangio, Università di Roma La Sapienza Elena Svalduz, Università di Padova
  • Rosa Tamborrino, Politecnico di Torino Ines Tolic, Università di Bologna


  • Marco Folin, Università di Genova
  • Alireza Naser Eslami, Università di Genova


Meeting organised by the Associazione Italiana di Storia Urbana (AISU), with the support of:

  • Università di Genova, Dipartimento DAD
  • Laboratoire International Associé Mediterrapolis, UMR TELEMME (AMU/CNRS), Maison méditerranéenne des sciences de l’Homme, Aix-en-Provence
  • Centro Internazionale di Ricerca sull’Architettura del Mondo Islamico e del Mediterraneo


The conference will be held at the facilities of the Dipartimento Architettura e Design (DAD) of the Polytechnic School of the University of Genoa, located in Stradone SantAgostino 37 (16123 Genoa), in the heart of the medieval centre of the city.




Logo dAD   Logo CIRAMIM

Logo TELEMMe Logo LIA MediterraPolis

OpenEdition vous propose de citer ce billet de la manière suivante :
Delphine Cavallo (9 janvier 2018). Multi-Ethnic Cities in the Mediterranean World. History, Culture, Heritage. MediterraPolis. Consulté le 15 juillet 2024 à l’adresse

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