Studies Association

 Mediterranean Studies

The Journal of the Mediterranean Studies Association

Editor, Mediterranean Studies:

Susan L. Rosenstreich, Dowling College

Book Review Editor:

Eric Dursteler, Brigham Young University

Editor’s Introduction

This year, the MSA celebrated its twenty-fifth annual meeting. Executive Director Ben Taggie opens Mediterranean Studies 31.2 with a tribute to the host institution of the meeting, Masaryk University in the Czech Republic’s city of Brno. Holding the 2023 conference in Brno had everything to do with the association’s mission to promote the scholarly study of the many cultures of the Mediterranean in their interactions with greater forces in and beyond the region, a mission the articles and reviews in this issue assiduously carry out.

In “War and Peace in the Elephant Mosaic from Huqoq: Synagogue Art, Classical Historiography and Roman Imperial Monuments,” Karen Britt and Ra‘anan Boustan bring to light an unparalleled example of ancient synagogue art that memorializes a non-biblical event, demonstrating the extent to which even a small rural village could engage with the cosmopolitan literary and artistic movements of the ancient Mediterranean world. This interplay of local and global forces can be seen in Maysoun Ershead Shehade’s article, “Sectoral Realism at the Junction of the Partition Plan of Palestine.” The author confronts totalizing assumptions often applied to this critical moment in the history of the Middle East, analyzing in disciplined detail the tumultuous events that led the Orthodox Greek Palestinians to join the Communist Party in 1948 and to support the United Nations plan to divide Mandatory Palestine into Arab and Jewish states. “Cosmopolitan Discourse in Amin Maalouf’s Ports of Call” by Ferma Lekesızalın examines the Lebanese author’s empathetic story of the tremendous toll narrowed identities take on those who embrace ideals of peaceful coexistence for differing social and political groups. As an appropriate closing study in this array of views on the ongoing tension between local and global forces, “Performing Mediterraneanness in the American South: An Ethnography of Mediterranean Solidarity in Chapel Hill, North Carolina” offers the real time experience of Christina Bananopoulou, who adopts the position of a participant observer to study the evolution of solidarity among local immigrants from different and sometimes historically hostile regions of the Mediterranean.

The book reviews in this issue are good evidence that scholars of the Mediterranean are revisiting long-held views on material and print culture, paying close attention to the push and pull of local and global forces. Cory Crawford reviews Phoenicians and the Making of the Mediterranean by Carolina López-Ruiz, noting the book’s ambitious scope to advance both a critique of Hellenocentrism and a synthesis of archeological data. Maria Georgopoulou points to the literary expertise of Roderick Beaton—Byzantium and modern Greece are his specialties—as the foundation for his three-and-a-half-millennium study, not of Greece, but rather of Greeks around the globe, The Greeks: A Global History. Catholic Spectacle and Rome’s Jews: Early Modern Conversion and Resistance by Emily Michelson is reviewed by John Hunt, for whom this first monograph in English to examine the sixteenth-century sermons at the Oratory of Santissima Trinitá dei Pellegrini offers a study of the impact of the sermons on the Jewish community and the religious life of Rome. Finally, Meghan Diluzio brings to our attention the work of Brenda Longfellow and Molly Swetman-Burland, editors of Women’s Lives, Women’s Voices: Roman Material Culture and Female Agency in the Bay of Naples. Collectively, the articles in this compendium challenge conventional ideas about the limitations of material culture as a source of information, showing how, in fact, evidence of female agency, and often the agency of many marginal groups, is readily apparent in the objects and archives that constitute material culture.

This is a lively issue, brimming with innovative scholarship and insightful critiques of longstanding assumptions, a fitting celebration of the MSA’s twenty-fifth annual conference. You will not be disappointed by the new perspectives on the Mediterranean region that the following pages bring to your attention.



Thanks to our Editor, Susan Rosenstreich, we have been able to negotiate a very generous arrangement with the Pennsylvania State University Press. We are now able to include the MSA JOURNAL in your Annual Membership benefits with no increase in membership fees. Access it here:



Members of the Mediterranean Studies Association can now expect to receive digital and hard copies of the journal as a benefit of membership.  

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             The Mediterranean Studies Association is an interdisciplinary organization that promotes the scholarly study of the Mediterranean region in all aspects and disciplines.  Mediterranean Studies, an international, peer-reviewed journal, is particularly concerned with the ideas and ideals of  Mediterranean cultures from antiquity to the present and the influence of these ideas beyond the region's geographical boundaries.

            Mediterranean Studies is indexed and abstracted  in JSTOR and Project Muse. Please consult the  revised (2021) Guidelines for Contributors. If you have questions or comments, please email the Editor,  Susan L. Rosenstreich:

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Find the index year by year here

Mediterranean Studies Association

Annual Frank A. Dutra Award

"The Editorial Board of Mediterranean Studies is pleased to announce the establishment of the Annual Frank A. Dutra Award for the Outstanding Article of the Year. The award, to be granted to the author of the outstanding article of the year by the Editorial Board, carries an annual prize of $350.00. Dr. Dutra, renowned professor of history at the University of California Santa Barbara, and a pioneer in interdisciplinary early modern studies, was instrumental in setting the high standards for scholarship that have continued to guide the Mediterranean Studies Editorial Board in its choice of articles for publication. His death in 2021 was a deeply felt loss. Through the generosity of Dr. Dutra's family, his legacy will remain alive and well in the Mediterranean Studies Association."

Susan Rosenstreich, Chair
MSA Editorial Board

Mediterranean Studies Association

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