Mission Statement

CEU's Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies, heir to the Center for Hellenic Traditions (2004/5–2009/10), promotes the study of the eastern Mediterranean and its hinterlands from antiquity, especially the Hellenistic oikoumene (323–30 BCE), to the end of the Ottoman period (1923).

CEMS faculty provides expertise on the ancient – philosophy & Hellenistic traditions –, medieval – the late antique & Byzantine commonwealths, Islamic & Crusader studies – and modern – Ottoman, Jewish & Eastern Christian studies – eastern Mediterranean in an internationally unique configuration, interconnected by common interest in themes such as: imperial legacies and discontinuities; ancient and medieval philosophical traditions and the cross-cultural transmission of knowledge; multi-religious societies; east-west interactions; economic and cultural exchanges ('Mediterraneans'). Along these trajectories the center encourages the constant rethinking and provocative transgression of existing disciplinary, and established or perceived spatial/chronological, boundaries and classifications, questioning transmitted orthodoxies and heterodoxies and actively working to privilege hitherto marginalized texts and sources.

Building upon CEU's location on the fringes of the formerly Byzantine and Ottoman worlds (and imperial Habsburg and Russia for that matter), CEMS is ideally placed to connect the shared pasts of those peoples and cultural spheres to which CEU's mission is directed with the contemporary world. This allows CEMS to take a vantage point distinct from that of other academic fora on Mediterranean Studies, engaging in a productive dialogue valuable both to scholars in the humanities and social sciences as well as policy makers.