"Iain Chambers is a gifted and spirited cultural flaneur whose journeys along the textual and musical shores of the Mediterranean have resulted in a book that explores the extensive connections of modern life. With insight and empathy Chambers argues that the Mediterranean is a decentered and disjunctive topos that has the capacity, and the complexity, to become the contemporary crossroads of intercultural transmission and political transformation. This is a stirring example of cultural studies blessed with the love of song and myth." Homi K. Bhabha, Harvard University "Iain Chambers is without question one of the most learned scholars working in the field of cultural studies today. In Mediterranean Crossings, he takes us through philosophical, fictional, filmic, musical, and popular cultural texts produced over the centuries, arguing that the Mediterranean needs to be reconceptualized as a transitory, rather than stabilized, habitation and as an ever-evolving cross-cultural space. Reverberating with far-reaching philosophical implications, his readings combine critical insights with the charm of a storyteller who has traveled widely in texts as well as in physical worlds." Rey Chow, author of The Age of the World Target: Self-Referentiality in War, Theory, and Comparative Work "With Mediterranean Crossings, Iain Chambers delineates a new line of discourse on Mediterranean Studies that is as interdisciplinary as the region is hybrid. He mediates between conflicting histories, cultures, interpretations, and events, elegantly moving between the past and present, large and small, individuals and peoples, in this impressionistic portrait of an unclassifiable, fluid region." Giuliana Bruno, author of Atlas of Emotion: Journeys in Art, Architecture, and FilmFrom the Publisher:
The cultural theorist Iain Chambers is known for his historically grounded, philosophically informed, and politically pointed inquiries into issues of identity, alterity, and migration, and the challenge postcolonial studies poses to conventional Western thought. With Mediterranean Crossings, he seeks to counter the insufficiency of prevailing characterizations of the Mediterranean by offering an interdisciplinary and intercultural interpretation of the region's culture and history. The "Mediterranean" as a concept entered the European lexicon only in the early nineteenth century. As an object of study, it is the product of modern geographical, political, and historical classifications. Chambers contends that the region's fundamentally fluid, hybrid nature has long been obscured by the categories and strictures imposed by European discourse and government. In evocative and erudite prose, Chambers renders the Mediterranean a mutable space, profoundly marked by the linguistic, literary, culinary, musical, and intellectual dissemination of Arab, Jewish, Turkish, and Latin cultures. He brings to light histories of Mediterranean crossings - of people, goods, melodies, thought - that are rarely part of orthodox understandings. Chambers writes in a style that reflects the fluidity of the exchanges that have formed the region; he segues between major historical events and local daily routines, backwards and forwards in time, and from one part of the Mediterranean to another. A sea of endlessly overlapping cultural and historical currents, the Mediterranean exceeds the immediate constraints of nationalism and inflexible identity. It offers scholars an opportunity to rethink the past and present and to imagine a future beyond the confines of Western humanistic thought.
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