Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Demographic and Urban Growth in the Mediterranean from the Late Middle Ages to Modern Times

LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DESCRIPTION The study of populations is one of the upcoming innovations in the field of cultural history. Until recently, demographic studies were confined mostly to the sphere of social and economic history. More and more, historical demography is being linked to family, community and nation building history. Therefore, this study-unit will focus on the aspect of demographic growth within a number of Mediterranean towns and cities.

The study-unit will cover the urban growth of the cities of Barcelona and Cadix in Spain, the city of Marseilles and La Ciotat in France, Venice, Rome and Naples in Italy and the Ottoman cities of Constantinople, Alexandria, the North African barbary strongholds of Tripoli, Tunis and Algiers and Valletta with its three harbour cities in Malta. Some of these cities developed into what the French would term as a megapole, that is, big conglomerations of urban spaces characterised by specific political, economical and social functions.The study-unit will study the population similarities and differences within these urban spaces and how the peopling of the Mediterranean region was conditioned by cultural requisites which influenced, for good or bad, the Mediterranean urbanization policies.

Study-unit Aims:

The aim of this study-unit is to create awareness about the urban and demographic growth among a number of Mediterranean cities which have been for centuries at the centre of European history. Some of these cities are still determining our Mediterranean history.

The study-unit would seek to offer factual knowledge about the rapid population growth of these cities and information about the type of families and reproductive systems which had supported the urban dynamics of the Mediterranean megapoles.

It will also aim to explain how important it was for the Mediterranean people to live in coastal cities, a feature which is still part of this region's urban landscape today.

Learning Outcomes

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

- define different demographic situations behind the population and urban growth of Mediterranean cities;
- acquire knowledge of the different stages of such a population growth and understand the different causes in the rise and fall of the rate of population growth of Mediterranean cities;
- identity the effects of demographic increase on the vitality of the cultural, social and economic life within cities;
- recognize the multidimensional causes of population growth;
- acquire knowledge about the economic problems and the political and cultural tensions created by unchecked population growth;
- identity past urban designs.

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

- evaluate the impact of urban growth on the resident and non-resident population living within cities;
- undertake studies in sustainable development strategies;
- do qualitative research analysis and data collection;
- map the different categories of urban and demographic dynamics;
- adapt theoretical and empirical knowledge to the analysis of contemporary demographic variables.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings

Essential texts
Abulafia David, The Great Sea: a human history of the Mediterranean, Allen Lane, 2011.
Trade and cultural exchange in the early modern Mediterranean : Braudel’s maritime legacy, edited by Maria Fusaro, Colin Heywood, Mohamed-Salah Omri, Tauris Academic Studies, 2010.
Tabak, Faruk,The waning of the Mediterranean, 1550-1870 : a geohistorical approach, Johns Hopkins U.P., 2008.
Horden, Peregrine and Purcell Nicholas, The corrupting sea : a study of Mediterranean history, Blackwell, 2000.
Braudel, Fernand, The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean world in the age of Philip II, Fontana, 1975.
Simon Mercieca, ‘Spazi pubblici e controllo sociale: uno studio di alcuni aspetti demografici e urbanistici a La Valletta’, Istituzioni, assitenza e religiosita' nella societa' del Mezzogiorno d'Italia tra XVIII e XIX secolo, ed., Giovanna da Molin, Cacucci Editore, 2009, vol. II, pp. 103-121.

Supplementary readings
Settlement, Urbanization, and Population, edited by Alan Bowman and Andrew Wilson. Oxford U. P., 2011
Sguardi Mediterranei tra Italia e Levante (XVII-XIX secolo), a cura di Mirella Mafrici & Carmel Vassallo, Msida, Malta, U.P. 2012.
Mansel, Philip, Levant : Splendour and Catastrophe on the Mediterranean, Philip Mansel, Yale U. P., 2011.
Tinniswood, Adrian, Pirates of Barbary : corsairs, conquests and captivity in the seventeenth-century Mediterranean, Vintage Books, 2011.
Greene, Molly, Catholic pirates and Greek merchants : a maritime history of the Mediterranean, Princeton U.P., 2010.
Norwich, John Julius, The Middle Sea : a history of the Mediterranean, Chatto & Windus, 2006.
The Mediterranean in history, edited by David Abulafia; London : Thames & Hudson, 2003.
Reconstructing past population trends in Mediterranean Europe, (3000 BC-AD 1800), edited by John Bintliff and Kostas Sbonias, Oxbow, 1999.
Aging in the past : demography, society, and old age, edited by David I. Kertzer, Peter Laslett. University of California P., 1995.
Sari, Djilali, Le désastre démographique, Société nationale d’édition et de diffusion, 1982.
Petraccone, Claudia, Napoli dal Cinquecento all’Ottocento : problemi di storia demografica e sociale, Guida, 1974.
Petruccioli, Attilio. After amnesia : learning from the Islamic Mediterranena urban fabric. Icar, 2007.
Hall, Peter. Cities in civilization : culture, innovation, and urban order. Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1998.
Fontenay, Michel, Le developpement urbain du port de Malte du XV1e au XV111e siecle, in Le carrefour maltais of the Revue du Monde Musulman et de la Mediterranee, 71 (1994/1), p. 91-108.
A.E. Wrigley, People, cities, and wealth: the transformation of traditional society, Blackwell, 1987.
The population history of England, 1541-1871: a reconstruction, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, Mass) 1981.
People Cities and Wealth: The Transformation of Traditional Society, Blackwell Publishers 1989.
Continuity, Chance and Change: The Character of the Industrial Revolution in England, Cambridge University Press 1990.
A.E. Wrigley, Poverty, Progress, and Population, Cambridge University Press 2004.
A.E.Wrigley, Industrial Growth and Population Change, Cambridge University Press 2007.

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture and Seminar

Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Simon Mercieca

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 description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2021/2. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.