Not only Fernand Braudel’s trendsetting and now-classic The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II, but also histories of the Mediterranean in general, treat the Black Sea as a mere extension of the Mediterranean, no differently from, for example, the Aegean or the Dalmatian Seas. The author here does not subscribe to this dominant view. The first part of the presentation will review and discuss the justifications for this kind of treatment as well as identifying the basis for an alternative approach that treats the Black Sea world as a unit in its own right. The second part of the presentation will identify several structural patterns of Black Sea history and political economy that are characteristic of the longue durée. In the third part we will address the issue of peculiarities with specific reference to the question of how Mediterranean the Black Sea world actually is. The conclusion will follow by identifying oases of micro-regional ‘Mediterranean-ness’ within the Black Sea world, despite which the embedding context will be characterized as being essentially otherwise.
Eyüp Özveren is a full professor at the Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences of the Middle East Technical University (METU) in Ankara, Turkey where he has been teaching in the Department of Economics since 1991. During the 1980s, he worked as a research associate for the Fernand Braudel Center for the Study of Economies, Historical Systems, and Civilizations at the State University of New York-Binghamton from where he received a PhD in 1990. In addition to economic history and political economy, he teaches Mediterranean cinema and literature in the Master’s program in Media and Cultural Studies (METU), an interest the coverage of which he has been expanding so as to include the Black Sea world. He has widely contributed to Mediterranean Studies and Black Sea Studies with books (Turkish), and articles (English, and Turkish).