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Entgrenztes Europa: Die Diasporas als transkulturelle und gebietsübergreifende Verbindungselemente 1492 - 1918

Applicant Schwara Desanka
Number 123425
Funding scheme SNSF Professorships
Research institution Historisches Institut Universität Bern
Institution of higher education University of Berne - BE
Main discipline General history (without pre-and early history)
Start/End 01.03.2009 - 28.02.2010
Approved amount 303'099.00
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All Disciplines (2)

General history (without pre-and early history)

Keywords (11)

Europe; modern period; diasporas; sense of belonging; Mare Nostrum (Mediterranean); Transnational -religious and -ethnic Cultural; Patterns; Intermixing and Overlapping Identities; Motion and Emotion; Habitus; Comparative Historical Methods

Lay Summary (German)

Lay summary
Laysummary: Anhand vernetzter Lokalstudien untersuchen wir Lebensformen und transterritoriale Strukturmerkmale (Mobilität, Kommunikation, kulturelle Codes, Kulturtransfer, Interaktionsmuster). Minderheiten (verschiedene ethnische, religiöse und soziale Gruppen) werden nicht als Gegenstand von Toleranz oder Intoleranz, sondern als aktive Bestandteile vornationaler Systeme behandelt. Für die Archivarbeit wurden Orte ausgewählt, die an Schnittstellen verschiedener kultureller Systeme liegen: Lissabon und Cadiz, Malta, Livorno und Ancona, Dubrovnik und Belgrad. Nicht nur geographisch, sondern insgesamt konzeptionell versuchen wir nationale Prämissen zu überwinden, indem wir uns den verschiedenen ethnisch-religiös-kulturellen Gruppen mit transkulturellen und gebietsübergreifenden Fragestellungen nähern: mit der Frage nach der religiösen Praxis im öffentlichen Raum, nach der Interaktion verschiedener religiöser Gemeinschaften, nach Identifikationsmechanismen und Grenzziehungen, die im Körper eingeschrieben werden, sowie der Verbindung von Seuchen und dem Fremden, nach der doppelt konstruierten sozialen Wirklichkeit im Spannungsfeld von handelstätigen Akteuren und den sie umgebenden politischen, wirtschaftlichen, kulturellen, sozialen und religiösen Strukturen, nach Formen der Solidarität über religiöse, sprachliche oder ethnische Grenzen hinweg und nach den Unterschieden im Verständnis von Freiheit und Unfreiheit.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants


Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
106471 Entgrenztes Europa: Die Diasporas als transkulturelle und gebietsübergreifende Verbindungselemente 1492 - 1918 01.03.2005 SNSF Professorships


This project examines the cultural connections between the far poles ofEurope, from the West to the East: the diasporas between Lisbon andIstanbul. It focuses on cities that were considered to be part of the mainroute for ships carrying passengers and goods, for seamen and merchants,pirates and consuls, for people searching for income, adventure, or newopportunities in another world, port cities and commerce centers thattypically offer a variety of cultural influences: Livorno, Ancona, Venice,Trieste, Zara/Zadar, Ragusa/Dubrovnik, and - at the meeting point of thethree large multiethnic empires in Europe: the Habsburg monarchy, theOttoman Empire, and the Russian czardom - Belgrade. As a furtherconnecting element, an island that lies in the Mediterranean, the sea thatserves as a medium, will come into focus as a way station on the way toeverywhere: Malta.In the fifteenth century, dramatic changes overcame the two opposite polesof Europe that have had a continued effect to this very day. In 1453, theOttomans conquered Constantinople. In 1492 Jews and Muslims were expelledfrom Spain after the Christian Reconquista. In the same year ChristopherColumbus discovered America. The borders of Christian Europe were pushedback in the Southeast by the Muslim Ottomans and expanded in the West tothe farthest possible border of its geographical space, and even beyond:The Christian-European cultural presence was exported overseas. These twopoles, the far West and the far East of Europe, as well as theirconnecting elements, the Mare Nostrum and the most important cites ofcultural exchange, will be at the center of this project.The large port cities played an outstanding role in determining the formsof cross-cultural contact and the mutual exchange it brought. They offerthemselves as counter-models to the nation-states that emerged in thenineteenth century. Typical of these cities was a mixed population.“Levantines” was an omnibus term used especially to refer to the Armenian,Greek, Italian and Jewish merchants. Apart from Iberians (Portuguese,Spaniards) and Southern Slavs (Slovenes, Croats, Serbs, Macedonians, andBulgarians) “Moriscos,” Italians, Armenians, Greeks, Rumanians, “Tsintsari”, Vlachs, Albanians, Turks, “Gypsies,” Hungarians and Jewslived there, alongside countless other minorities. In contrast to thehybrid communities that were characteristic of the large multiethnicempires or commerce centers, ideologies of the nation-state werepredicated on a “pure” form that was to be emulated. This could only beattained by the exclusion of other influences.This project goes beyond the borders that surround societies defined asnation-states. In fact, it is our stated goal to dissolve spatialcategories and to examine this immense territory along its manyoverlapping cultural boundaries in a search for new principles oforganization, for new points of juncture where social phenomena appear. Itaims at following the paths of diasporas within their specificenvironment, to explore patterns of interaction, inclusion and exclusionof individuals and groups and the patterns of emotion embedded therein.Space constitutes itself here not via political domination or otherpolitical-territorial means, but through transterritorial networks andsocio-economic, cultural and religious factors as well as via the movementof people through space.