HomeMobility and Innovation in the Mediterranean and beyond in the 18th and 19th centuries

HomeMobility and Innovation in the Mediterranean and beyond in the 18th and 19th centuries

Mobility and Innovation in the Mediterranean and beyond in the 18th and 19th centuries

Mobilité et innovation en Méditerranée et au-delà aux XVIIIe et XIXe siècles

Creativity and (re)invention of people on the move

Créativité et (ré)invention des migrants

*  *  *

Published on Wednesday, March 04, 2015


Cette rencontre s'attache à faire travailler et réfléchir ensemble des chercheurs travaillant d'une part sur l'histoire des mobilités et d'autre part sur l'histoire de l'innovation. Comment étudier et préciser ce lien implicite entre mobilité et innovation ? En prenant l'aire méditerranéenne comme lieu d'analyse sur un long XIXe siècle, on réfléchira, à partir des case studies présentés, à une méthodologie possible.



The long nineteenth century was the century of innovation. The insatiable demand for novelty coincided with the rise of modern science and technology and the onset of modernity in the western world. Since the first industrial revolutions of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, innovations were made possible at an unprecedented rate promising to heal the fears of modern societies and handle the uncertainties of their futures.

The same century was also the century of human mobility. Never before did the world experience movement and emigration to such a large scale. The revolution in transport, which lowered costs, made movement across the continents and seas easier and more accessible to ever-greater numbers. At the same time, the political and economic conditions of an age of empire and revolution urged hundreds of thousands of people to leave their countries and resettle elsewhere. 

The workshop intends to examine these two domains of human experience together and explore their links. It will do so by focusing on the Mediterranean and by studying the individual lives of inventors and innovators on the move. By bringing for the first time together historians of migration and historians of technology and innovation, the workshop aims to assess the transimperial and transnational circulation of know-hows in a perceived ‘periphery’ of the industrialised and modernised world.

The Mediterranean has been a region of shared technical cultures since Antiquity. Recent reassessments of its role in the age of industrialisation no longer consider it to be marginal to the development of the European world economy, but insist that it played an active part as an intermediary space of technological and scientific exchange. The appearance of new colonial powers in the region during the nineteenth century, the emergence of nation-states, the collapse of old empires and the struggle of others to survive by adopting large modernising reforms, fostered the quest for innovation in all parts of the basin. At the same time, the revolutionary movements that shook the area throughout the nineteenth century created new links with the western European centres, southern Russia and the Americas, and encouraged the movement of people, knowledge and techniques.

What interest us here are the fields of ‘applied innovation’: technology, trade, industry, finance, science, political and military engineering and the art market (collections, expositions and museum-making). Lives of mobility may include artisans, engineers, technicians, military men, diplomats, exiles, explorers, merchants, entrepreneurs, migrant workers and skilled personnel. The workshop will be attentive to stress the geographical multi-centrality of technological circulations. We see the movement of innovations, not as a unilateral transfer from Europe to the rest of the world, but as a continuous back and forth between Europe, the Mediterranean and the Americas, and between East and South, North and West across the shores of the Mediterranean.


20 March, Friday

Université de Paris-Est Créteil, Salle des thèses

10:00 Welcome-Introduction: Catherine Brice (IUF, CRHEC-UPEC) and Konstantina Zanou (CRHEC-UPEC)

11:00-13:00 Session 1 – Chair/Présidence: Jean-François Dubost (UPEC-CRHEC)

  • Isabelle Bretthauer (Projet ERC Lib Gloss-UMR 7597) and Liliane Hilaire-Pérez (Centre A. Koyré and Université Paris 7), Across the Channel: Innovative Jewish networks in the 18th century
  • Sakis Gekas(York University, Toronto), Mobility, innovation and the tragic life of Marinos Harvouris between Kefalonia, St Petersburg and Paris (1729-1782)
  • Manolis Patiniotis (University of Athens – Department of Philosophy and History of Science), Traveling Greek-speaking scholars and the circulation of knowledge in Eastern Europe at the turn of the 19th century


13:00-15:00: Lunch

15:00-16:30 Session 2 – Chair /Présidence: Dominique Poulot (Université Paris I)

  • James Delbourgo (Rutgers University) "Hans Sloane Does Not Exist”
  • Mirjam Brusius (Oxford University) Reinventing Nineveh. Archaeology and the British Museum around 1850


20:00 Dinner

21 March, Saturday

Centre Alexandre Koyré, 4e étage

10:30-12:30 Session 3 – Chair/Présidence: Lissa L. Roberts (University of Twente)

  • Ali Yaycioglu (Stanford University, Department of History), The Ottoman Age of Industrial Revolution: Inventors, Engineers and Cosmopolitanism in the Ottoman Empire
  • Darina Martykánová (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid), Engineers in the Late Ottoman Empire: A Cosmopolitan Community of Experts
  • Sibel Zandi-Sayek (The College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA), Innovation, Technology and 19th Century Entrepreneurial Networks


12:30- 14:00 Lunch

14:00- 15:30 Session 4 – Chair/Présidence: Konstantina Zanou (UPEC-CRHEC)

  • Juan Pan-Montojo and Juan Luis Simal (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid), Liberalism, Exile and International Finance: The Spanish Case, 1820-1830s
  • Julia Clancy-Smith (University of Arizona), Mobilization, Mobility, and Innovation in Nineteenth-Century North Africa


16:00-18:00 General discussion – Brainstorming.

Chair/Présidence: Catherine Brice (IUF-UPEC-CRHEC)

With the participation of

  • Jacques Revel (EHESS),
  • Lissa Roberts (University of Twente),
  • Antonella Romano (Centre A. Koyré, EHESS-CNRS-MNHN),
  • Mia Fuller (University of California, Berkeley)
  • Romain Bertrand (Science Po Paris – tbc).


  • Campus Centre, salle des thèses - 61 avenue du Général de Gaulle
    Créteil, France (94)
  • Centre A. Koyré, 27 rue Damesmes
    Paris, France (75013)


  • Friday, March 20, 2015
  • Saturday, March 21, 2015


  • Mobilité, innovation


  • Catherine Brice
    courriel : catherine [dot] brice [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Konstantina Zanou
    courriel : czanou [at] gmail [dot] com

Information source

  • Catherine Brice
    courriel : catherine [dot] brice [at] gmail [dot] com


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Mobility and Innovation in the Mediterranean and beyond in the 18th and 19th centuries », Study days, Calenda, Published on Wednesday, March 04, 2015, https://calenda.org/320368

Archive this announcement

  • Google Agenda
  • iCal
Search OpenEdition Search

You will be redirected to OpenEdition Search