Cultural Brokerage: A Medieval Mediterranean Perspective

Nikolas Japert, Ruprecht-Karls Universität Heidelberg

The following podcast is of a keynote lecture given by Nikolas Jaspert on October 09th, 2014. It opened the sixth annual conference of the Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context,” which was titled “Cultural Mediation: Creativity, Performance, Display.” The conference was organized by Christiane Brosius, Melanie Trede, and Hans Harder on behalf of Research Area B “Public Spheres”.

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Fig. 1: Nikolas Jaspert during his lecture in the Karl Jaspers Centre at the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg

This lecture focuses on the Mediterranean, the meeting point between Africa, Asia, and Europe—an area attributed with a higher propensity to cultural mediation than most other regions. Academic discourse on syncretism, hybridisation, and transfer has been particularly eager to focus on this “Great Sea” of small dimensions. Reflecting on such approaches and their motivations might serve as a base for more general thoughts on the relation between space and communication within and between societies. Which places were particularly apt for the performance and display of communicative practices? What motivated such processes and how were they brought about? What is the relation between cultural mediation and cultural brokerage? Some mediaeval Mediterranean case studies can help to answer these and other questions.