The University of Illinois has a strong tradition of interdisciplinary inquiry into the Mediterranean as a region that crosses traditional boundaries of area studies in the U.S. In cooperation with other UIUC area studies centers CSAMES and REEEC, the European Union Center has played an important role on campus in fostering this scholarship and teaching, from securing a past Jean Monnet Module grant from the European Commission for course development to awarding FLAS fellowships for languages spoken in the region but outside the traditional geographic borders of Europe (such as Arabic, Turkish, and Hebrew) and supporting speakers, conferences, and course development with Title VI funds from the U.S. Department of Education. Studying the Mediterranean at Illinois has reminded the campus community and audiences beyond of how world “regions” are hardly static, but are formed through the movement and interactions of different peoples, and grasped through an understanding of historical legacies.

With the support of a Transatlantic Research Partnership grant from the FACE Foundation, Emanuel Rota (Director of the European Union Center), Claire Bourhis Mariotti (Associate Professor of African American History, University of Paris 8-Paris Lumières), and Mauro Nobili (Associate Professor of History, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign) are carrying out a multi-year project titled “Racialization: A Plurality of Paradigms?”. The project aims to deprovincialize the perspective provided by Critical Race Theory and test its assumptions within the multiracial and multicultural context of the pre-modern and postmodern Mediterranean, before and after the emergence of racial regimes. More information on this project can be found here.

Race and the Mediterranean

Other events that the EU Center has sponsored or co-sponsored with a focus on the Mediterranean include a 2019 conference on migration (co-sponsored with CSAMES) and a 2020 Interdisciplinary Reading Group on Race and the Mediterranean.

Information about activities in 2011-15 supported by the Jean Monnet Module, “Europe and the Mediterranean: Transnational Spaces and Integration," can be found hereThis project has also involved faculty from departments of languages and literatures in particular, including the U of I’s Department of French and Italian, whose Mediterranean Studies page can be found here.

Please contact EUC Director Emanuel Rota ( with any inquiries about the role that the EU Center might play in activities related to the study of the Mediterranean.