This research cluster brings together four research teams whose members have demonstrated expertise in the study of Eastern languages and cultures. They all possess philological training, have established track records in the edition and translation of texts in their respective fields and, perhaps more importantly, show a common concern to move beyond purely editorial work.

The intent of this collaborative research initiative is to employ its members’ strong philological training and background in cultural studies to analyse and study, on the basis of primary sources, the processes of production and circulation of knowledge in the Mediterranean area from antiquity to modern times. As a group, we will aim to bring under close scrutiny the positions held by social agents of various kinds within discrete multilingual and multi-religious settings, and to reflect on the role played by both language and, especially, religion in the shaping of those positions. 

The range of cultural activity we will cover is wide and multi-faceted. Attention will be paid to the material support of knowledge (manuscripts, books), processes of translation, transmission and circulation of ideas, the heuristic interpretation of texts along the itineraries they followed, and the analysis of their contribution to social and political history.

From a meta-disciplinary point of view, we all concur that the label “oriental” or “orientalist” which is often used to define our disciplines is in need of urgent revision. In this regard, we are not as interested in reframing or revisiting the now-dated issue of “Orientalism” and “otherness” as we are in engaging in an in-depth exploration of the circulation, interpretation and exchange of knowledge within the chronological and geographical frame we have defined.

Centro / Institutos: 
Institute of Mediterranean and Near Eastern Languages and Cultures (ILC)