MA in Mediterranean Studies :: Program Structure

Program Outline

Winter Term
Core Courses
Research Methods in Social Sciences (8 ECTS)
Conflict and Security in the Mediterranean (8 ECTS)
Civilizations and Cultures in the Mediterranean (8 ECTS)
Elective Courses
Economic Development in the Mediterranean (6 ECTS)
Comparative politics and government in the Mediterranean (6 ECTS)
Lent Term
Core Courses
The Arab Spring and civil society in the Mediterranean (8 ECTS)
Energy and natural resources in the Mediterranean (8 ECTS)
The EU in the Mediterranean (8 ECTS)
Elective Courses
Democracy, human rights and multiculturalism in a comparative perspective: Europe and Arab countries (6 ECTS)
Cultural Geographies of the Mediterranean (6 ECTS)
Summer Term
Master’s Dissertation (15 ECTS)

Course Descriptions

Research Methods in Social Sciences

The primary aim of the course is to introduce postgraduate students to the fundamentals of designing and doing social science research. It aspires to equip them with the knowledge and analytical tools necessary to critically consider and inquire into social phenomena, with a view to developing a capacity to understand the many different ways of thinking about trends, events and occurrences within their particular field of study. In addition to discussing several methods and approaches coupled with aspects of the philosophy of social sciences, the course seeks to act as a practical, instruction guide to academic research and writing: use of bibliographical and internet materials, study of literature, construction of the framework for analysis, data compilation, testing of hypotheses, articulation of argumentation, scrutiny of findings, and proposal for further research.

Conflict and Security in the Mediterranean

This course explores the evolution of a series of ‘traditional’ as well as of ‘new’ security risks and challenges in the Mediterranean region. Apart from examining the two traditional and longstanding conflicts in the Eastern Mediterranean, namely the Arab-Israeli confrontation and the Greek-Turkish dispute, emphasis in the course rests in the role certain systemic and institutional agents play in the Mediterranean subsystem. To this end, the seminar discusses the post-Cold War (especially the post-9/11) global and regional security environment; the evolution of the US strategy in the Middle East; the evolution of NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue; the evolution of the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) as well as of the Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP); the role of NATO and EU in the management of the Greek-Turkish conflict; and the role of energy issues in creating conditions of stability in the turbulent Mediterranean region.

Civilizations and Cultures in the Mediterranean

Defined from Fernand Braudel as a “space-movement” among three cultural areas, Catholic Christianity, the Orthodox world and the Muslim “umma”, the Mediterranean experienced, through different forms, colonialism, the Empire, decolonization and the wars of independence. Through the prism of Cultural Studies, and in particular, postcolonial criticism, this course explores the cultural history of mare nostrum: the complex crossing of cultures, the transformations of identities under the influence of globalization and migration movements, as well as the inscription of the social and the political on the cultural products (Letters and Arts).

Economic Development in the Mediterranean

The aim of the course is to analyze the political economy of the Mediterranean region. The course acquaints students with the structure and the main characteristics of the economies of the Mediterranean countries, highlighting examples in both the EU member-states and their southern partners. It also discusses in a comparative perspective the competitive advantages, the weaknesses, the macroeconomic performance and the dominant models of economic development in the region.

Democracy, human rights and multiculturalism in a comparative perspective: Europe and Arab countries

The course examines differences in democratic political culture between Europe and Arab countries and, accordingly, on the ways the state-citizenship relationship is arranged. It places emphasis on the importance of human rights and the kind of challenges set by multiculturalism. Recognition, identities, special group rights and respect of free and equal citizenship are some of the issues that are being addressed throughout the lectures.

Comparative politics and government in the Mediterranean

The course acquaints students with the main concepts and models of political systems in order to study the government and political processes in different countries in the Mediterranean. The lectures and seminars comparatively analyze the political institutions and decision-making procedures, the separation of powers, and the party systems in both established and emerging democracies in the region. The course also discusses the domestic politics in representative countries of the Mediterranean and assesses their main political challenges and orientations in recent times.

The Arab Spring and civil society in the Mediterranean

The course examines the evolution, the role, potentials, strengths and weaknesses of organized and non-organized forms of civil society in the Arab Spring. It also discusses transnational flows and local peculiarities, the socioeconomic framework, the role of technology and social media as well as the relationship between civil society and the political Islam, civil and human rights and the empowerment of women. The analysis is linked to explanatory schemes of theories of transition.

Energy and natural resources in the Mediterranean

The course introduces students to the policy and economic dimensions of the energy choices to meet societal goals—both regional and domestic. It examines issues in the provision and management of renewable natural resources, fossil fuels, energy products and services in the Mediterranean. It also studies the intersection between natural resources, energy, environment and economics, as well as their inter-linkages with international security and geopolitical considerations. Overall, the course acquaints students with the framing, design, implementation and evaluation of policy remedies to energy problems under environmental concerns in the Mediterranean.

The EU in the Mediterranean

The course examines the evolution of particular institutional initiatives taken and assesses the policies developed by the European Union to tackle old and new threats in the Mediterranean. To this end, particular emphasis is given on an in-depth examination and assessment (rationale, goals, achievements etc.) of the European Union first institutional initiative in the Mediterranean in the mid-1990s, namely the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (EMP)/the Barcelona Process. Particular attention is also paid to the exploration of the two other most important initiatives taken by the EU in the broader Mediterranean region, namely the European Neighborhood Policy (ENP) and the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM). Emphasis in the seminar rests on reading and critical discussion of the relevant literature, the development of the participants’ analytical skills, and learning to do effective oral presentations.

Cultural Geographies of the Mediterranean

The cultures of the Mediterranean have a long history and a rich diversity. They have interacted for centuries and exerted strong influence over each other. However, there was also much conflict – often violent – among them. The course argues, in line with Fernand Braudel and the French Annals School, that the cultures of the region can be considered as forming part of a single (but not uniform) Mediterranean culture. It focuses on the modern era, examining the diversity of the region with particular reference to the relatively recent North/South divide and pays attention to spatial movements of ideas, goods (trade) and people (migration), analyzing the dynamics of change.