Penn State University Press
Many of us who study the Mediterranean have been confronted with surprise and even disbelief that such a subject could be considered a legitimate field of study. Yet we all accept the traditional “area studies” concentrations in Latin America, the Slavic countries, the Middle East, and East Asia, among others. Why, then, is there so much resistance to the idea of Mediterranean Studies? Perhaps the fact that it is a sea and not a contained landmass, or that it represents disparate cultures, makes it seem different and less appropriate as an individual field of study. But clearly, there is a scholarly movement focused on the geographical, historical and cultural Mediterranean that is gaining strength worldwide. It is my purpose to illustrate the contours of this new field of study in terms of its raison d’être and the logistical structures in academe that support it. My title posits three questions: What is the Mediterranean? Why should we study the Mediterranean? How can we study the Mediterranean?
Richard W. Clement, “The Mediterranean: What, Why, and How,” Mediterranean Studies, 20:1 (2012): 114-120