The long-term time frame will show how the perception of borders was transformed in crucial moments of Mediterranean history. If, in the first two centuries of the modern age, borders are prevalently the site of contact and confrontation between two antagonistic empires, beginning in the late eighteenth century the borders become primarily an area of economic, political and diplomatic relations between national and regional states.
Whereas the Mediterranean sea is our primary field of inquire, comparisons and connections with other maritime areas (and first of all, the Atlantic and Indian Oceans) will be also present and encouraged.
The nodo will develop research along three main lines of inquiry.
The first two lines of inquiry concern the methods of control of passages across tax and customs barriers and the role of the territory in controlling the military border, and the ways borders are reflected in the organization of the followings pheres: the military sphere, as regards the mobilization of resources to maintain armies (credit networks, grain supply, housing, the role of private contractors and tax credits). The political and administrative sphere, as regards the interaction between central power, intermediate and local institutions. In a “local” perspective – “from below” – particular attention will be placed on the role of local communities; they provided financing, procured supplies for the troops, organized civimilitias and managed the monitoring of the public health. The economic sphere, as regards the qualitative and quantitative reconstruction of commercial trade routes and legal exchange and contraband in the principal Mediterranean ports. Official documents of trade-regulation bodies and customs documents will be studied.
The third line of inquiry focuses on the ways groups and single individuals – socially and culturallywell-defined (foreigners, merchants, voyagers and diplomats) – managed (or failed) to cross pre-constituted geopolitical borders and sojourn temporarily or permanently in border societies. Civil and parish records will be consulted to determine the presence of individuals or groups of foreigners, in addition to the deeds and licenses for the granting of citizenship.