Vol.5, No.2 | [Articles] An Archaeology of the Verticalist Mediterranean: From Bridges to Walls




In modern Europe, the Mediterranean Sea has become an abridged or forgotten sea. At present, under the pressure of “Fortress Europe”, it risks its waters being turned into walls. Nevertheless, the vision of the Mediterranean as a uniform, monolithic European sea melts away as soon as we remind ourselves of its history, a history of encounters and clashes, and of continuous dislocations (F. Braudel). This essay aims to survey this abridging historical process, which stretches back to the Mediterranean colonial history dominated by northern modernity, from postcolonial (I. Chambers) and meridian (F. Cassano) perspectives. Only from these standpoints can one deconstruct the verticalist northern ideology that sees the “modern” north sitting above the “backward” south, and as a consequence the Mediterranean as either a European lake or a forgotten sea: a sea that is good at reminding Europe of its ancient origins but not at building a bridge between the Europeans and the other peoples sitting around the same pond.

Keywords : Mediterranean, Europe, postcolonial thought, meridian thought, verticalism