Universitat Internacional de Catalunya

Mediterranean: Shared Heritage

Mediterranean: Shared Heritage
First semester
Cultural analysis -identity and innovation-
Art, cultural heritage, and experience
Main language of instruction: English

Teaching staff

Beyond the class hours, the professor for this course is available for any questions and comments online at: melrazzaz@uic.es


The Mediterranean is a realm of distant dreams and harsh realities. Throughout this course, we will examine the concept of the Mediterranean and its evolution from different perspectives, then proceed to study the Mediterranean cultural and natural heritage in all its diversity and richness, before finally tackling contemporary opportunities and challenges that can bring us together or push us apart. Throughout the course, there will be case studies and activities to enhance the students’ exposure and challenge their perception of the Mediterranean.

Pre-course requirements


No particular background is required for this course other than a good command of English and a desire to engage in discussions and collaborative work on a wide range of Mediterranean themes.


  • To acquire a basic understanding of the complexity and the richness of the Mediterranean and the development of the concept.
  • To appreciate the Mediterranean heritage for its diversity, uniqueness and fragility.
  • To understand the current issues that have been shaping life in the Mediterranean and its surrounding region(s).


  • E04 - Ability to recognise and interpret cultural manifestations.
  • E09 - To understand the limits and forms of intercultural communication.
  • E20 - Ability to reflect on human-environment interaction and the organisation of the resulting territory.
  • E27 - Ability to work in multicultural contexts.
  • E29 - Skills for mediating in conflicts involving intercultural factors.
  • E33 - Ability to relate concepts of heritage, homeland and cultural identity.
  • E37 - To have current knowledge of the areas of study related to international issues, taking into account contributions from relevant resources, such as a critical reflection on the impact of tourism (including cultural tourism) on development.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course, the students should be able to:

Identify and engage in the current Mediterranean discussions through a multidisciplinary approach; explore the richness, diversity, sophistication and uniqueness of the Mediterranean heritage; examine the delicate balance(s) between human beings and Nature, as well as the human impact on the environment in the Mediterranean region; analyse the cultural identity/identities of the Mediterranean through comparative analyses and a study of multiple stakeholders; study the major factors (historical, cultural, political,...) that bring people(s) together and/or push them apart in the Mediterranean region; develop a thorough understanding of relevant terms; apply critical thinking to different modes of cultural expression (artistic, literary, intangible, etc.).


I. Conceptual Framework: Between Lyricism & Pragmatism

  1. Mediterranean or Mediterraneans? (Geographical Perspective)
  2. From Mare Nostrum to the Euro-Med (Historical Perspective)
  3. A ‘Mediterranean’ Culture? (Cultural Perspective)
  4. A World without the Mediterranean (Geostrategic Perspective)

II. Shared Mediterranean Heritage: Common Icons of Identity

  1. Introduction to Mediterranean Heritage

Civilising Sea, Corrupting Sea

  1. Mediterranean Cultural Heritage

                        2.1. Learning, Thought & Spirituality

                                 Writing and the first alphabet

                                 The first monotheistic religions

                                 The first philosophers

                                 The first great libraries & universities

                                 The ‘Uomo Universale’ model

                        2.2. Artistic & Literary Expression

                                  The birth pangs of human creativity

                                  Art for eternity

                                  The first Mediterranean epic poems

                                  An explosion of ‘-isms’

                        2.3. Archaeological sites & the Built Environment

                                  Architecture defying time

                                  Classical urban models

                                  Medinas, port-cities, fishermen villages

                                  Cityscape and soundscape

                                  Archaeological revelations & underwater worlds

                        2.4. Intangible Heritage

                                   Oral Traditions & Performing Arts

                                   Social Practices, Rituals, Knowledge concerning Nature

                                   Traditional Crafts

                        2.5. Other Types of Heritage

                                   Industrial, Scientific & Technical Heritage

                                   Ethnographic Elements

                                   Documentary & Digital Heritage


  1. Mediterranean Natural Heritage

                        3.1. Biodiversity

                                   Flora & fauna

                                   Habitats & ecosystems

                                   Endangered species

                        3.2. Geodiversity

                                   Materials, forms & transformational processes

                                   Deltas, archipelagos, peninsulas, wetlands, etc.


  1. Mediterranean Mixed Heritage

                        4.1. Sacred Sites & Sanctuaries

                        4.2. Reservations & Cultural Landscapes

                        4.3. Cultural & Pilgrimage Routes


  1. Heritage Management & Protection


  1. Cultural Tourism and Mediterranean ‘Heritage Industries’


III. The Way Forward: The Tides Return Forever

Opportunities & Challenges beyond the Human Condition

  1. Regional Efforts (Union for the Mediterranean)
  2. Initiatives (Euromed Heritage Programme, H2020, Blue Economy…)

Teaching and learning activities

In person

Apart from regular discussions in class, the teaching methodology is based on real-life case studies at the beginning of each class, complemented with reading material and relevant outdoor activities.

Evaluation systems and criteria

In person

- Participation: 30%

- Assignments: 30%

- Essay: 40%

Bibliography and resources

The Mediterranean: a shared heritage

Mohammed Elrazzaz

Euro-Mediterranean University (Piran, 2018)


The Great Sea: A Human History of the Mediterranean

David Abulafia

Oxford University Press; Reprint edition (September 1, 2013)


Memory and the Mediterranean

Fernand Braudel

Vintage; Reprint edition (December 3, 2002)


The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II, Vol. 1-2

Fernand Braudel

University of California Press; Reprint edition (July 16, 1996)


The Corrupting Sea: A Study of Mediterranean History

Peregrine Horden and Nicholas Purcell

Wiley-Blackwell (April 7, 2000)


Mediterranean Passages: Readings from Dido to Derrida

Miriam Cooke and Erdag Göknar

The University of North Carolina Press; First Edition edition (October 20, 2008)


Back to the Garden: Nature and the Mediterranean World from Prehistory to the Present

James H.S. McGregor

Yale University Press (February 10, 2015)


Southern Thought and Other Essays on the Mediterranean

Franco Cassano

Fordham University Press; 1 edition (May 1, 2012)

Teaching and learning material