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Colloquium on Mediterranean Urban Studies

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The Transformation of  Mediterranean port cities: 19th and 20th centuries

23-25 October 2014

Mersin, Turkey

Throughout history, the Mediterranean world has been perceived as a vast conglomeration of tiny sub-regions and larger groups of sub-regions. In the words of eminent historian Fernand Braudel, it has been a region where thousands of things come together. In this region, there occurred successes and failure, depending on developments in the economic relations and transportation technology that resulted in the emergence of distinctive characteristics in each specific period.


During the nineteenth century, changing economic relations at an international scale and changing transportation technology jointly resulted in the flourishing port cities enjoying relative practical independence from the central governments. These cities benefited greatly from their interrelations with other port cities. The reciprocal relations made port cities, the places of cultural exchange where people from different parts of the Mediterranean met each other. Therefore, characteristics of Mediterranean port cities display urban complexity and social diversity, through which it is possible to mention a shared way of urbanism during the nineteenth century, which refers to an inter-subjective construction and representation of the city idea.


After th foundation of nation states, the problems of urban development in Mediterranean port cities resulted from the lack of common social, economic, cultural and spatial characteristics. Mediterranean port cities turned into arenas, to which the politics of nation-statehood were exerted, which resulted in the demolition of urban complexity and social diversity. Consequently, as they were losing their distinctive characteristics and spatial qualities, the Mediterranean port cities began to resemble to other cities.


Along this path, the Colloquium on Mediterranean Urban Studies intends to discuss the transformation of the Mediterranean port cities in the period from nineteenth to twentieth century with a specific emphasis on economic, social, cultural and spatial aspects. With the motive of achieving significant results, three themes are specified for the colloquium to be held in 23-25 October 2014 in Mersin, Turkey:


1-The transformation of Mediterranean port cities and the role of social actors: socio-cultural transformation and daily life

2-The transformation of Mediterranean port cities and changing commercial relations.

3-Changing spatial practices in Mediterranean port cities: urban planning, architecture and projects


The Colloquium is organized by the Center for Mediterranean Urban Studies at Mersin University as a follow-up of previous four colloquia, held in the topic Mersin in History that was comprising studies on history, archeaology, planning and architecture of Mediterranean port cities.


All abstracts will be published in the abstracts book, and selected papers by the scientific committee will be published in the proceedings book.

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