Our Mission

The Mediterranean Basin has been a global hub of diverse cultures, complex economic networks, influential empires, and rich natural resources. The region’s continuing role in global affairs necessitates an in-depth understanding of Mediterranean societies and their relations with the rest of the world.

The Mediterranean Studies at Stanford University provides a forum to explore the interplay between Mediterranean societies, cultures, and communities from the Middle Ages to the present. Affiliated faculty teach and conduct research on all aspects of co-existence and conflict that have marked these encounters in the empires, port cities, nation-states, transregional networks of the Levant, Anatolia, the Balkans, Southern Europe, and North Africa. They also investigate the multiple relations of the Eastern Mediterranean with other regions and areas of the world. Their work engages with pressing social, economic, religious and cultural issues.

Within this broader framework, the Mediterranean Studies Forum organizes a rich variety of academic and public events and also supports research and teaching about the region. The program also sponsors specific initiatives:

Ottoman and Turkey Encounters at Stanford: OTES is an intellectual forum housing several series of events that foster critical engagements with contemporary Turkey and the Ottoman world, namely Southeast Europe, the Middle East and North Africa during the Ottoman centuries. Taking the potential embedded in the word “encounter” seriously, OTES encourages the radical rethinking of the relationships between intellectual work, public engagement, and action in our encounters with scholars, writers, activists, and artists. 

The Sephardi Studies Project: Launched in collaboration with the Taube Center for Jewish Studies, this project explores the history and culture of Sephardi and Eastern Jewries. The project organizes academic and public events about Sephardic culture and history, and also supports the development of a digital library that includes representative samples of writings in various Judeo languages of the Sephardim over the ages, starting with Ladino.

Mapping Ottoman Epirus: How did the Ottoman Empire operate? Mapping Ottoman Epirus (MapOE) seeks to answer this question through big data, spatial and network analysis, visualization, and various other digital methods. MapOE initially focuses on a region (Epirus - today Western Greece and Southern Albania), and period (late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries) as an exemplary microcosm of the Ottoman World. 

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