Our Mission

The Mediterranean Basin has been a global hub of diverse cultures, complex economic networks, influential empires, and rich natural resources. The region’s continuing role in global affairs necessitates an in-depth understanding of Mediterranean societies and their relations with the rest of the world.

The Mediterranean Studies at Stanford University provides a forum to explore the interplay between Mediterranean societies, cultures, and communities from the Middle Ages to the present. Affiliated faculty teach and conduct research on all aspects of co-existence and conflict that have marked these encounters in the empires, port cities, nation-states, and transregional/transnational contexts of the Levant, Anatolia, the Balkans, Southern Europe, and North Africa. They also investigate the multiple relations of the Mediterranean with other regions and areas of the world. Their work engages with pressing social, economic, religious and cultural issues.

Within this broader framework, the Mediterranean Studies Forum organizes a rich variety of academic and public events and also supports research and teaching about the region. The Program also sponsors three specific initiatives:

The Turkish Studies Initiative:  The lands of contemporary Turkey has been a crossroads for Mediterranean cultures and also a gateway to diverse regions, such as the Middle East, Central Asia, and North Africa. The Turkish Studies Initiative explores the global connectivity of modern Turkey as well as that of the Ottoman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, and pre-historic Anatolia. The Initiative organizes a variety of academic and public events and also supports the Turkish language and literature instruction at Stanford.

The Sephardi Studies Project: Launched in collaboration with the Taube Center for Jewish Studies, this project explores the history and culture of Sephardi and Eastern Jewries. The project organizes academic and public events about Sephardic culture and history, and also supports the development of a digital library that includes representative samples of writings in various Judeo languages of the Sephardim over the ages, starting with Ladino.

The Maghrebi Studies Initiative: The initiative supports research about Maghreb and brings prominent scholars and practitioners to Stanford campus to speak about history, culture, and politics of Maghreb as well as Maghrebi diasporas.

To remain informed about the Mediterranean Studies Forum’s activities, follow us on Facebook and/or subscribe to our mailing list. To support our initiatives, please click here. For further information, please contact Associate Director Dr. Burcak Keskin-Kozat at medstudies@stanford.edu.