Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Comprehending the Mediterranean and Its Philosophical Heritage

LEVEL 05 - Postgraduate Modular Diploma or Degree Course


DEPARTMENT Faculty of Arts

DESCRIPTION This study-unit is a study of the Mediterranean in terms of two main over arching themes: (1)What philosophical backgrounds and frameworks of meaning is the Mediterranean linked to which have generated what have now become foundational philosophical everyday common sense notions, inherently part of our everyday modern European and Anglo-American experience, language and heritage?

This section, consisting of approximately seven to nine sessions, is an inquiry into Greek philosophy and its Mediterranean dissemination throughout Europe most markedly through the Roman Empire, Islam and Christendom including such forms as Stoicism, Epicureanism, Scepticism, etc. (2)The second part of this course consists of approximately seven to nine sessions and looks at key themes relating to contemporary Mediterranean matters: What is the Mediterranean? What does it refer to? Must it refer to anything, at all, and what is the role of 'reference' in determining the meaning of words or expressions - in this case, of course, the meaning of 'the Mediterranean'? What about modern conceptions of 'identity'? What is identity and specifically, what is Mediterranean identity? What is Multiculturalism and specifically what is Mediterranean Multiculturalism? What is Democracy and is there such a thing as Mediterranean Democracy? What are Stereotypes? Could there be any validity to them and specifically, is there any validity to Mediterranean stereotypes? This inquiry into stereotypes will begin with a philosophical inquiry into the meaning of 'recognition' and whether recognition is unconditionally due to any nation or state? How does this inquiry bear upon Mediterranean conceptions of Alterity and belonging.

Study-unit Aims:

• To engage students in the application of philosophical, analytical and critical tools of thought and of literary expression for understanding and engaging in discourse about Mediterranean history, philosophy and contemporary studies;
• To inspire an awareness of the fundamental importance of the origin, provenance and conceptual backgrounds, not only to any field of inquiry generally, but specifically to the study of the Mediterranean understood in terms of its Greek, Roman, Christian and Muslim, heritages;
• To provoke students into consistently questioning and re-questioning proposed suggestions of 'meaning' in any study, including their own. In this case of Mediterranean studies, the aim is to disclose the role and relevance of thinking and rethinking the meaning of such concepts as 'Mediterranean', 'identity', 'culture', 'multiculturalism', and specifically, the meaning of 'mutual recognition', within the context of a dialectical and inter-subjective inquiry;
• Through the assignments, the course aims to sharpen the students' ability to express themselves both orally and in writing, to discuss and present their comprehension of issues, methodologically, systematically, and with critical judgement.

Learning Outcomes:

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

• critically evaluate the philosophical heritage of the Mediterranean particularly in comprehending some basic conceptual principles and tools of thought as propounded by the Greek philosophers and disseminated throughout Mediterranean culture through Rome, Islam and Christianity;
• diagnose scientifically and conceptually some of the key philosophical conceptions of contemporary life in general as they originated in the Greek tradition, including common sense notions of duty, truth, honour, justice, life's meaning and purpose, etc. as they emanated from the Mediterranean Greek, Roman, Judeo-Christian heritage;
• conceptually discriminate central aporias associated with the philosophical principles of identity, mutual recognition, alterity, democracy, etc. and connect these philosophical deliberations to the world of Mediterranean being.

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

• communicate and write confidently about the Mediterranean using specific tools of discourse and reasoning expressing familiarity and dexterity with the role of meaning;
• relate philosophically to Mediterranean concerns of intercultural, interreligious, and inter-discursive dialogue, not only for writing academic papers and further post-graduate research, but also for such practical experiences as chairing meetings, writing departmental memorandums, organizing conferences, giving media interviews, etc.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Berki, R. N., The History of Political Thought, Everyman's University Library, 1977
Braudel, Fernand, The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II, Vols. I and II
Cooke, Miriam, Mediterranean Thinking: From Netizen to Medizen, The Geographical Review, April, 1999, Vol.89(2), p.290
Hauschild, Thomas; Zillinger, Martin; Lucia Kottmann, Sina, Syncretism in the Mediterranean: Universalism, Cultural Relativism and the Issue of the Mediterranean as a Cultural Area, History and Anthropology, 2007, Vol.18(3), p.309-332
Mallia, Pierre, Is there a Mediterranean bioethics?, Medical Health Care and Philosophy (2012) 15:419-429
Ohana, David, Mediterranean Humanism, Mediterranean Historical Review, 2003, Vol.18(1), p.59-75
Taylor, Charles, Multiculturalism: Examining The Politics of Recognition, Princeton University Press,1994

Braudel, Fernand Ayala, Roselyne de, edtior; Braudel, Paule, editor; Memory and the Mediterranean, translated by Sian Reynolds, 2001
Chambers, Iain; Curti, Lidia, Migrating modernities in the Mediterranean, Postcolonial Studies, 2008, Vol.11(4), p.387-399
Foxlee, Neil, Mediterranean Humanism or Colonialism with a Human Face? Contextualizing Albert Camus’ ‘The New Mediterranean Culture’, Mediterranean Historical Review, 2006, Vol.21(1), p.77-97
Giaccaria, Paolo, Cosmopolitanism: The Mediterranean Archives, Geographical Review, 2012, Vol.102(3), pp.293-315
Grove, A., and Rackham, O. The Nature of Mediterranean Europe: An Ecological History, Yale University Press, 2003


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment SEM1 Yes 50%
Seminar Paper SEM1 Yes 50%

LECTURER/S John Avellino
Kurt Borg
Jean-Paul De Lucca
Robert Farrugia
Jurgen R. Gatt
Keith Pisani

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The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
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It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.