IMS FORTH - University of California, Berkeley Lecture Series, 2021

The Institute for Mediterranean Studies (IMS) of the Foundation for Research and Technology-Hellas (FORTH) in collaboration with the Department of History and the Institute of European Studies of the University of California, Berkeley are launching a series of lectures for the research in history undertaken in both establishments to enhance communication, knowledge and exchange of ideas. The lectures of 2021 will start with the presentation of the four ERC projects carried out by the research groups of IMS-FORTH. The Institute for Mediterranean Studies (IMS) based in Rethymnon, Crete, was founded in 1986 and it is one of the 8 Institutes of the Foundation of Research and Technology-Hellas (FORTH). It is the only Institute of FORTH dedicated to research in Humanities and the implementation of science and technology in cultural heritage.


Monday 25 January 2021, 20:00 PM Athens

Apostolos Delis, IMS-FORTH


"SeaLiT: Seafaring Lives in Transition. Mediterranean Maritime Labour and Shipping during Globalization, 1850s-1920s", ERC Grant, 2016-2021

Lectures_2021_Delis_Sealit SeaLiT explores the transition from sail to steam navigation and its effects on seafaring populations in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea between the 1850s and the 1920s. In the core of the project lie the effects of technological innovation on seafaring people and maritime communities, whose lives were drastically altered by the advent of steam. The project addresses the changes through the actors, seafarers, shipowners and their families, focusing on the adjustment of seafaring lives to a novel socio-economic reality. It investigates the maritime labour market, the evolving relations among shipowner, captain, crew and their local societies, life on board and ashore, as well as the development of new business strategies, trade routes and navigation patterns.

SeaLiT offers a comparative perspective, investigating both collectivities and individuals, on board the ships and on shore in a number of big and small ports across seven maritime regions: it spans from Barcelona and the Spanish Levant coasts, to Marseille and the Provencal ports, to Genoa and the Ligurian littoral communities. Then proceeds east to Trieste and the Dalmatian coasts and further south the Ionian and Aegean islands and coastal mainland up to Odessa, the informal maritime capital port of the Black Sea. The ultimate goal of this comparative approach is to trace and understand the differences and similarities in the process of transition and integration to the global economy of different Mediterranean and Black Sea areas. Finally investigate how Seafaring Lives affected and reacted to the economic development and social transformation of this major phenomenon of transition from sail to steam on these particular areas.




Monday 29 March 2021, 20:00 PM Athens

Marinos Sariyannis, IMS-FORTH


"Geographies and Histories of the Ottoman Supernatural Tradition: Exploring Magic, the Marvelous, and the Strange in Ottoman Mentalities", 2017-2023

Lectures_2021_Sariyannis_HermesAndGreekSaints The GHOST project aims to explore Ottoman notions and belief systems concerning the supernatural. Its major objectives will be to explore the meaning and content of the perceptions of the “supernatural”, to localize such beliefs in the various Ottoman systems of thought, to analyze the changes that took place and to associate them with emerging or declining layers of culture and specific social groups. The project also addresses larger debates in recent historiography about the relevance of the “disenchantment” and “enlightenment” paradigms, integrating Ottoman intellectual history into the broader early modern cultural history.




Monday 10 May 2021, 20:00 PM Athens

Yuliana Boycheva, IMS-FORTH


"RICONTRANS: Visual Culture, Piety and Propaganda: Transfer and Reception of Russian Religious Art in the Balkans and the Eastern Mediterranean (16th - early 20th c.)",  2018 -2024

Lectures_2021_Boycheva_Ricontrans The RICONTRANS project studies the thousands of Russian icons and other religious art objects (utensils,  liturgical vestments and veils, books) that might be found actually everywhere in churches, monasteries and museums on the Balkans and the Eastern Mediterranean. These piety objects came from Russia to the region through official or unofficial and private donations, pilgrimage and trade.  In their long history, the  Russian religious artefacts  acquire various interrelated religious/ideological, political and aesthetic meanings, values and uses. Their transfer and reception is a significant component of the larger cultural process of transformation of the artistic language and visual culture in the region and its transition from medieval to modern idioms. It is at the same time a process reflecting the changing cultural and political relations between Russia and the Orthodox communities in the Ottoman Empire and its successor states in the Balkans and Eastern Mediterranean over a long period of time (16th to early 20th century).




Friday 10 September 2021, 19:00 PM Athens

Yannis Spyropoulos, IMS-FORTH

İrfan Kokdaş (İzmir Katip Çelebi University)
Mehmet Mert Sunar (İstanbul Medeniyet University)
Aysel Yıldız (IMS/FORTH)


"Janissaries in Ottoman Port-Cities: Muslim Financial and Political Networks in the Early Modern Mediterranean", ERC Grant  2019-2025

Lectures_2021_Spyropoulos_Janissary The JaNet project investigates the economic and sociopolitical role of the Janissaries in the 18th and early 19th centuries through their examination as a complex of interconnected networks in the ‘extended Mediterranean’ (including major Black Sea and Danubian ports). According to our thesis, in the period under examination, the Janissary corps became one of the main channels for the participation of various Muslim social strata of the Ottoman periphery in the Empire’s developing credit market and commercial life, as well as a gateway for their involvement in local and imperial politics. Moreover, it became a platform for the exchange of people, goods, and ideas between different localities covering a vast geographical area. When examined from a Mediterranean perspective, this view allows us to look beyond the information provided by Europe-centered sources and to drastically redefine the sociopolitical and financial role of Muslims in the area, an approach which historical analysis sorely lacks.