Peter N. Miller: Peiresc and the Mediterranean: Braudel and Goitein

Evening lecture on the occasion of the workshop "The Mediterranean. A Liquid Space of Architectures, Images and Things"

The challenge of reading a cultural-historical archive for its economic and social information was posed by Karl Lamprecht in the late 19th century and answered in Lucien Febvre's celebrated quip to Fernand Braudel: "Phillip II and the Mediterranean a good story; the Mediterranean and Philip II a great one." Goitein's spectacular Geniza project, seemingly by contrast, supports the viability of a "Peiresc and the Mediterranean." The unknown story of Braudel's correspondence with Goitein suggests that their apparent polarity is vastly over-stated, and that current work on merchant communication picks up where their letters of fifty years ago leave off.

Peter N. Miller

Since 2001 Professor of Cultural History, Dean, and Chair of Academic Programs at Bard Graduate Center, New York. 1986 BA, Harvard College; 1987 MA, Harvard University; 1990 PhD, University of Cambridge. 1998-2001 Assistant professor, University of Maryland; 1993-96 Mellon instructor, University of Chicago; 1990-93 research fellow, University of Cambridge. Fellowships include John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation (1998/2003), John Simon Guggenheim Foundation (2003/04), Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin (1997/98), National Endowment for the Humanities (1996/97), and others.

General Editor, 'Cultural Histories of the Material World', a joint venture of BGC and the University of Michigan Press. Other publications include 'Momigliano and Antiquarianism: Foundations of the Modern Cultural Sciences' (2007); 'Peiresc's Europe: Learning and Virtue in the Seventeenth Century' (2000); 'Defining the Common Good: Empire, Religion and Philosophy in Eighteenth-Century Britain' (1994, paperback 2004); 'Political Writings: Joseph Priestly' (1993); 'The Song of the Soul: Understanding "Poppea"' (coauthor, 1992); "Nazis And Neo-Stoics: Otto Brunner and Gerhard Oestreich Before and After the Second World War," in 'Past & Present' (2002); and numerous other articles and reviews.

Conferences organized: "Momigliano and Antiquarianism" (Clark Library, Los Angeles, 2002); "The Age of Antiquaries in Europe and China," (BGC, 2004 with François Louis); "Thalassography and Historiography" (BGC, 2009); "Cultural Histories of the Material World" (BGC, 2010).

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