University of Malta

Study-Unit Description
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TITLE Study-Tour

LEVEL 05 - Postgraduate Modular Diploma or Degree Course


DEPARTMENT Faculty of Arts

DESCRIPTION Through this study-unit students will travel to destinations in the Mediterranean relative to the MA and which will be selected by the lecturers. During these visits, students will be exposed to works of art and architecture and their cultural idiosyncrasies in their rightful context. In turn, these will reflect the elements that make up the history of the development of the multiculturalism of the Mediterranean. A broad perspective will encourage students to explore and appreciate these developments through time and space.

Coming into contact with a work of art, historical buildings, archaeological sites as well as with Mediterranean cultures will provide a lasting memory of these aspects and facilitate a better understanding of their historical, geographical and cultural contexts. Lectures will be held prior to the tour itself and they will continue on site at the various places to be visited.

Works of art and architecture are testimony to the people and cultures who ruled the Mediterranean during its long and chequered history and they will be used to reinforce theories and concepts on the subject matter. Special consideration will be given to the Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Muslim, Norman, Angevin, Aragonese, Renaissance, Baroque, etc, and how these combined to form an identity that is unique to the Mediterranean.

As a rite of passage into the world of Mediterranean culture and civilization the trip will provide students the opportunity to witness and experience at close-range particular sites that serve to illustrate diverse interconnections of artistic and cultural legacy that mark this region.

The four experts will lecture in their field of expertise (but always with reference to each other) to provide a detailed programme tailor-made to the chosen destination.

The tour experience also aims to encourage students to think of links between the Grand Tour experience which was so characteristic of travel in the early modern Mediterranean and modern-day mass tourism. So much that is the ‘Mediterranean’ in the perception of scholars (and even the ‘lay’ public) was in fact formed during travels; this study tour would be following those same footsteps in the sense that it would not limit itself to what can be learnt on the spot but it will attempt to recover aspects of that travel / study tradition that was altered in the wake of mass tourism.

Study-unit Aims:

• To relocate the lecture room to 'real spaces' that will help to consolidate the concepts to be discussed;
• To encourage the student to discover elements of the Mediterranean world at first hand;
• To underscore the Mediterranean's multi-cultural identity through various disciplines;
• To allow the student to have an immediacy with works of art and architecture from various historical periods within the same tour.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

• understand the motivations of different powers that led them to take control of the Mediterranean;
• explain what effects these powers left;
• highlight how these different powers and rulers shaped the identity of the Mediterranean;
• discuss the role of different social strata in these long-term processes of change and continuity.

2. Skills:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

• master the meaning and significance of a multi-disciplinary approach, so that they will come to better understand the Mediterranean world;
• appreciate the art and architecture that emerged from the different cultures (both when these ‘clashed’ and when they ‘merged’) of the Mediterranean;
• learn how and why the Mediterranean was a melting pot of influences and to recognise these influences today, thereby gaining a wider appreciation of diversity;
• understand past multicultural aspects of the socio-political realities of the Mediterranean and how these can be used to better interpret the present day;
• exercise and fine-tune their writing skills through the production of two essays which will help them learn how to write with a clear structure, references and bibliography, up to publication standard.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main texts:
Cyprian Broodbank, The Making of the Middle Sea - A history of the Mediterranean from the beginning to the emergence of the classical world, Thames and Hudson, 2013.
David Abulafia, The great sea: a human history of the Mediterranean, Allen Lane, 2011 [Melitensia MZZ]
David Abulafia, The Mediterranean in History, Thames and Hudson, 2003. [Melitensia MZZ]

Supplementary readings:
Silvana Messina, Siculo-Norman Art: Islamic Culture in Medieval Sicily (Islamic Art in the Mediterranean) (Museum with no Frontiers, 2002).
John Julian Norwich, The Normans in the South, 1016–1130 (Faber and Faber, 2010)
Markus Hattstein (author, editor), Peter Delius (ed.), Islam: Art and Architecture (Koneman, 2007)
Horden, P. and Purcell, N. The Corrupting Sea, Wiley-Blackwell,3 2000
S. Price and P. Thonemann (2010) The Birth of Classical Europe: A History from Troy to Augustine. Penguin Books.


Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment Yes 50%
Assignment Yes 50%

LECTURER/S Mark Aloisio
Timothy Gambin
Charlene Vella (Co-ord.)

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2017/8, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.
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