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Mediterranean under Quarantine Programme and Abstracts

27 Oct 2014

Mediterranean under quarantine - UPDATE

20 Jun 2014

The Registration for the upcoming conference  'Mediterranean Under Quarantine', organised by the Quarantine Studies Network is now open. The conference is hosted by the Mediterranean Institute at the University of Malta. Dates: 7-8 November 2014. Venue: Old University Campus, Valletta. Please follow this link for Registration and direct payment as well as for information re. accommodation and social program: 

Call for Papers - Thalassic Imaginaries: the Mediterranean Sea in Language, Art and Other forms of representation

28 Mar 2014

This is the third conference in the series organised by the Mediterranean Institute and the Institute for Mediterranean Studies, Busan University of Foreign Studies, South Korea. The conference will be held on 23-24 January 2015. Further information can be obtained here.

Public Seminars

28 Feb 2014

Quarantine Studies Network: Mediterranean under quarantine - Call for papers

14 Feb 2014

The study of Quarantine in the Mediterranean has a long and established historiography which mainly focuses on the history of lazarettos within varying historical settings shaped by waves of plague, cholera and other contagious pandemics spreading throughout the region. This call for papers intends to stimulate research which assists to critically present new perspectives and reinvigorate the study of Quarantine, by acting as platform for the presentation of fresh theoretical outlooks, new methodology and solid, cutting edge, research of a multidisciplinary nature. Proposals for papers treating any countries, region and trans-border spaces around and within the Mediterranean Sea – hence being either country specific or comparative – and embracing any period from the late 18th century to the present, are welcome.  While the Mediterranean is the proposed setting for this call for papers – comparative studies with other regions are also solicited.

Quarantine has been dealt with in connection with formal institutions, mainly the Lazaretto as established in the fourteenth century for the first time in Dubrovnik. In time, the lazaretto structures became more elaborate systems , with the state increasingly playing a crucial role in their functioning as a border prophylactic against the infiltration of contagious disease and as instruments for the management of exchange and to intensify social and political control and maintain security, public order and sanitization. In the process, permanent quarantine practices came to be shaped as state institutions with their own administrative structures and routine regulative operations (being also responsible for the management and direction of international commercial shipping). But the state charity and humanitarian effort was another dimension making up quarantine experiences – an area which has as yet attracted very little research.

Here ‘quarantine’ is taken in its broadest representation – encompassing all forms of spaces of seclusion –maritime and terrestrial – operated or practiced in the Mediterranean in time. Starting with the more formal: the institutional construction of isolation/segregation sites, be they maritime (as in lazarettos or isolation detention centres for immigrant) or terrestrial  (as in cordon-sanitaires, military delineated walled or fenced isolation zones ‘of contagion’, infective hospitals and border sites/camps of disinfection); semi-formal or informal  (as in makeshift or temporary isolation sites erected by the neighbourhood or the local parish/community itself; from segregated cells to quarantined households to the fencing of outland zones for the infected ), which were created  in the circum-Mediterranean littoral during the modern/contemporary period.

Papers dealing with the multifaceted functions, representations and uses of all forms and combinations of quarantine structures and practices are solicited. It is also to be highlighted that while created as isolation zones, quarantines became also sites of contact, human/social and cultural encounters, mixtures and contestation, translation, dialogue and negotiation – another dimension which has not as yet been explored. ‘Quarantine’ also reminds us of the social, physical and/or virtual spaces where the intertwining of memory and historical experiences occurred and came to be represented – in visual, iconographic and literary fashions.

Proposals for papers dealing with any one or a combination of these topics and which fall under any of the following thematic axes, are especially solicited for this international workshop:


Geopolitics: Quarantines and the modern State: the creation of public health administrations, the upholding of border-defined nations. Comparative investigations of Quarantine systems. Quarantines between modernization and backwardness. The history of International Sanitary Conferences and Mediterranean sanitary councils. Quarantines and Mecca pilgrimage: colonialism, pan-Islamism, nationalism.

Space: Construction and use of Quarantine spaces: architecture, urban planning and daily life. Border definition (Lazarettos as border-signalling) and the construction of national states and markets. Parallelisms and associations between quarantine administration, provincial and military divisions, railway and route networks, etc.

Islands: Islands as distinctively Mediterranean Quarantine sites; islands’ particular experiences of epidemics and approaches to Quarantine systems; the eco-historical and key ports on major trade/pilgrimage/travel routes and the geostrategic islands approaches to quarantine; islands as isolated Quarantine sites or as central hubs of the regional/global sanitary system.

Technologies: scientific instruments, devices and operations of quarantines, including the employment as experimental sites and knowledge -gathering centres.

‘Otherness’: Quarantine as ‘transformative’ locus/human experience; as locations for the construction of ‘Otherness’ (eg. ‘Muslims’ on their pilgrimages to Mecca – as well as Jews, Roma people and other underprivileged marginalised groups), but also in connection with the making of vulnerability, social inequalities in treatment shaped by gender, social class, status, ethnicity and ‘race’ (or ‘colorism’); tracing the Quarantine construction of stigma and stereotyping.

Proposals are to include title, research objectives and indication of methodology and sources (max. one page). Please also include name, institution, email address and telephone number.


The proposal needs to be sent to: not later than the 15 March 2014. You will be informed of the decision of the Selection Committee with regard to your paper by not later than 10 April 2014.

For further information on this conference and on the Quarantine Studies network to:

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