The H2020 ITHACA project focuses on narratives of migration in both past and present, analysing them in a rigorous historical framework, through an interdisciplinary, comparative, and transnational approach. ITHACA aims to create a digital platform, that brings together migration narratives from the 15th century to the present, enhancing the historical documentation and the testimonies of past and present migrants’ experiences.

In this context, the ITHACA Project Coordination invites scholars to submit essay proposals for a contributory volume on this topic.

Migration Narratives in the Global Mediterranean (1450–1850)

The aim of this essay collection is to offer a comparative overview of the history of migrations in the Mediterranean region, here defined as global interconnected space, a crossroads for a wider area, from the Atlantic to the Caspian Sea, and from Northern Africa to continental Europe. It will host contributions that cover a long timeframe, from the late Middle Ages up to the first half of the 19th century. To avoid an over-localised approach and a narrow chronological frame, the collection will offer both a synchronic and diachronic account of migrant experiences across the area in the longue durée.

Using a stringent comparative approach, Migrations Narratives in the Global Mediterranean (1450–1850) will provide a solid historical framework in which migrants’ perception and self-perception and the consequent narration and self-narration of migration are challenged and discussed from a variety of perspectives and methodological approaches. Contributions presented from a multi- or interdisciplinary perspective will be welcome. The purpose of the ‘long modern age’ periodisation is to better highlight the changes and continuities in the historical migration processes that have taken place in the region.

The book aims to make a significant contribution to the study of this kind of narration – that is the written, graphic, or oral commentary employed by a narrator to convey a story to an audience. The case studies selected will offer a wide view of migration narratives and self-narratives, as defined in the examples below, in different Mediterranean spaces. Narrative concepts are profoundly relevant to the understanding of life, experience, and texts of whatever nature, and ITHACA wishes to employ them to reach a deeper understanding of the meanings of migration.

Thus, based on their archival research, the contributors to this volume are expected to retrace the narratives of migrant groups and individuals, privileging written, figurative, artistic, material forms of self-narrative, offering a key to access the long-term impact of the narratives thanks to a strong historical perspective.

We encourage contributions that will explore and deepen our understanding of the various forms of narrative by and on migrants that can be found in archival sources. Archives as a privileged space for looking at displacement narration are at the very core of the ITHACA project, as it is mainly through archival sources of various kinds that we are able to historicise narratives of migration.

For Migrations Narratives in the Global Mediterranean (1450–1850), we welcome contributions covering four main typologies of migrant experience through the examination of narratives produced by or on migrants:

1. Migration as a result of religious dissent and lack of a toleration towards religious diversity. In the history of the Mediterranean, there have been many migratory experiences – both voluntary and forced – that have been motivated by religious beliefs. This type of migration involved individuals and groups who, for reasons of religious beliefs linked to confessional or non-tolerant policies in the country of origin, moved somewhere else.
2. Migration as a result of contested political positions, actions of political opposition, or state of war in the country of origin. This form of migration refers to the political exile of political outcasts in the early modern age as well as to those linked to the patriotic struggles of the 19th century. Contributions could retrace, through narration and self-narration, the feeling of displacement of the exile in the arrival space; actions taken to enter a new political and cultural space; the elaboration of an ideology linking activism and migrant experience.
3. Migration as a result of environmental conditions. This type of migration involved populations that moved in search of better environmental settlements, mainly for economic reasons.
4. Methodological reflections that elaborate the concept of migrant agency in a historical and long-term perspective and/or reflections on the historiographic works on the theme of migration (especially migration narratives).

Contributions should be in English and no more than 10,000 words in length (footnotes included).

Proposals submission:
Proposals should be no more than 600 words in length and should be submitted by email to by 1 September 2022. The authors of accepted proposals will be notified by 15 October 2022. Completed essays will be expected by 15 September 2023, for publication in autumn 2024. Contributions will be subject to a peer review process. The volume will be released by an international publisher and will be in Open Access, according to the standards required by European projects.

The contributors will be invited to take part to a workshop to be held in November 2023 with the aim of presenting and discussing the academic perspectives that have emerged through the collection.