The aim of the course is to present the area of the Eastern Mediterranean in modern times, looking at economic, political and social developments on a comparative level. Through the philosophy and approach of Fernand Braudel’s ideas, the interconnection of peoples and the movement of goods, ideas and people in the waters of the Mediterranean will be examined.
The course first briefly introduces the geographical contours of the Eastern Mediterranean, the development and contact among different cultures as well as the three main monotheistic religions that dominate the area (Christianity, Judaism, Islam).
It looks, then, at the policies of the Great Powers, regional and global conflicts and the rise of nationalism which will lead to the dissolution of coexistence in the Eastern Mediterranean, strengthening the divisions and rivalries of different peoples.
The presence and competition of the Great Powers and the arrival of capitalism as a process of economic development and exploitation of the natural resources of the Mediterranean will be examined in particular. The different political action plans of the powerful states will have dramatic consequences for the peoples of the Mediterranean over time (Sykes-Picot Agreement, 1916). In modern times, the presence of powerful forces and the diplomatic balance of relations (in particular as regards the civil war in Syria) are examined.
The course will examine the process of dependence of the Eastern Mediterranean and the control exercised by the Great Power (Egypt, Lebanon), as well as the conditions of the decolonization and rise of Arab nationalism. In the modern era, the complex geopolitical field of the Mediterranean will be analyzed with specific episodes, such as the conflict over the control of the Suez Canal, the Arab-Israeli conflict from the creation of the state of Israel to the recent period of the Palestinian uprising (Intifada) and the Lebanon war.
The case of Syria is being examined in the light of new developments and the emergence of radical groups (ISIS) that question the role of the State in the Middle East.
In the case of Greek-Turkish relations, an analysis is made of issues that create tensions such as the delimitation of territorial waters, the EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone) and the exploitation of natural resources.
The refugee crisis in the Mediterranean and its impact on countries of first entry such as Greece and Italy are also examined in the light of the role of the European Union (EU-Turkey Statement).