Placing a Digital Book on the Shelf

One of the fun challenges facing The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota is getting our digital books noticed. This year, we’ve used social and traditional media, kept the website sharp, circulated a few books for review, and we’ll even do a little advertising for our most recent volume. The key is to get the news of the book out in front of as many people as possible.

For traditional publishers, this involves getting our books on the right book shelf, but since we don’t have the resources or the infrastructure for getting paper books stocked outside of a few very limited outlets, we have to find other ways to get our books on the right digital shelves.  

For The Bakken Goes Boom, we were lucky enough to have some global coverage in the popular media (Slate, Fast Design Co. and the Daily Mail as well as some recent coverage by the more specialized science press. We also got some nice publicity from the University of North Dakota. This coverage certainly raised awareness of the book and contributed to over 500 downloads and continued decent sales, but it remains to be seen if this kind of publicity results in the book getting cited consistently and having an impact in how both the public and scholars understand the Bakken.

The War with the Sioux is the Digital Press’s best seller and received both a proper book review in the public humanities media (in North Dakota History which strangely enough isn’t online!) and some strong word of mouth sales and downloads thanks to the hard work of the translators and their extensive network of local and regional connections. And this event. It’s a thing

Sometime in the next few months, the little guide that Bret Weber and I wrote to the Bakken is scheduled to appear from North Dakota State University Press. We have a website for it already and the hope is to use this book and its publicity to help us market The Bakken Goes Boom as well. As part of this, I have the idea of creating a “Bakken Bookshelf” with links various media – particularly books, but also articles – relevant to understanding the Bakken. Prominent among them would be a link to work by the Petrocultures collective at the University of Alberta, but also books and articles reviewed on my blog. By creating a virtual bookshelf, we can visually link our book to other significant books in the field.

For our next book, Mobilizing the Past, we are partnering with a the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee’s libraries to host a copy of the book and its chapter on their Digital Commons page (link coming soon!). Digital Commons is both highly visible to search engines, but it also has a kind of institutional imprimatur that will reinforce the academic character of the book and hopefully make it accessible to a wide audience. It will also be available from The Digital Press page and with any luck some future titles (and I have a couple in particular in mind) will help attract readers to the book. Finally, I’ve been talking with the book’s editors and we agree that getting the book up on our various academia.edu pages will align the book with various scholars’ interests and provide a context for our work.

Situating our work in an appropriate context seems crucial for the long-term success of a book. When the first wave of downloads subsides and the bubble of sales deflates, the real fruits of publishing appear as the book moves into the scholarly or public conversation, gets cited, and circulates. Getting a digital book onto the right bookshelf is an important step to ensure the lasting impact of a work.



Philip K Dick and Archaeological Futures

I have this mediocre idea of reading a bunch of Philip K Dick and then using it to think about the future of archaeology. Bill Brown’s recently sweeping study of things in literature spurred my interest in Dick’s work and particularly his concern for the relationship between objects and things. Since this reading is for a paper that I am scheduled to give toward the end of November at the American Schools of Oriental Research annual meeting in a panel on object biography, I thought that anything I could do to complicate the idea of objects having a biological trajectory through reality would make my paper an interesting contribution. 

This weekend, I made my way through Dick’s Time Out of Joint (1959). The main character in the novel lived in a town constructed to appear just as it was in 1959. In fact, he was not aware – at least consciously – that the year was not 1959, but 1998, until he discovered some buried magazines that described events and people with whom he was not familiar and started to discover slips of paper labeling the location of objects in his complex stage-managed surroundings. This provided material evidence that complicated his present by simultaneously providing glimpses of the real 1959 and the construction (literally!) of his own reality and led the main character to question the authenticity of his own surroundings. The tension between the present constructed to accommodate the main character who – as if anticipating the plot of Enders Game – played a newspaper strategy contest daily which allowed the world government to destroy incoming nuclear missiles fired from the moon. The reconstructed 1950s town represented a kind of delusional utopia constructed to manage the main character’s anxiety and the pressures of protecting the world from nuclear catastrophe. Dick’s work creates a tension between the perfect town with its past and the complicated, messy, and dystopian reality of the year 1998 with its real past.

In 200 pages, Dick offers a clever (and untheoretical in his particular way) perspective to the idea that time and things have a uncomplicated relationship. Pasts and presents exists simultaneously and in incompatible ways as archaeology offers glimpses of both unrealized futures (and presents) as well as impossible pasts. For the characters in the Dick novel, time does feel out of joint, but it speaks to a more disjointed experience of reality that archaeology encounters on a regular basis.

Our obsession with chronology and dating, in this context, is about trying to put time back into joint and to putting the world into an order that is recognizable and that makes sense. Philip K Dick’s Time Out of Joint, challenges us to wonder whether the 1950s town of the main character with its superficial consistency and manufactured is out of joint or the ostensibly more authentic reality of 1998. 

Slow Archaeology in Mobilizing the Past

This week, I’ve largely turned my blog over to promoting newest book from The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota. The centerpiece of this promotion has been the pre-release of the introduction. This has resulted in substantial traffic to the Digital Press website, some great social media buzz, and a heartening number of downloads.

As part of this preview, I also offered a little easter egg. Near the bottom of the table of contents page, I included a download link to my contribution to the volume. Only 11% of the folks who downloaded the introduction scrolled down the page and noticed the other download link highlighted. (What’s interesting is that about 10% of the traffic to the Digital Press site came from this blog where I told readers there was an easter egg, and while I cant track the behavior of visitors referred from this site, at best only only 30% of those visitors downloaded the the easter egg.) 

MtPbannercolor

Here’s the abstract to that paper. 

Slow Archaeology

Slow archaeology situates contemporary, digital archaeological practice both within the historical tradition of the modern discipline of archaeology and within a discourse informed by calls for Taylorist efficiency. Rather than rejecting the use of digital tools, slow archaeology advocates for a critical engagement with the rapidly changing technological landscape in the field. This contribution draws upon lessons from the popular “slow moment” and academic discussions of modernity and speed to consider the impact that the rapid adoption of digital tools has on archaeological practice and knowledge production. Slow archaeology pays particular attention to how digital tools fragment the process of archaeological documentation, potentially deskill fieldwork by relying on digital (Latourian) “blackbox” methods, and erode the sense of place so crucial to archaeological claims of provenience. The result of this critical attention to digital practices is neither a condemnation of new tools nor an unabashed celebration of their potential to transform the discipline, but a call to adopt new technologies and methods in a deliberate way that grounds archaeological knowledge production in the realm of field practice.

Learning Lessons from Publishing

I’m almost done with another book from The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota, and this book has been exponentially more complex and time consuming than the previous titles. Some of it has to do with length. Mobilizing the Past runs to over 550 type-set pages making it a third longer than any previous book. Some of it has to do with the number of moving parts. Go download the introduction and check out the table of contents now.

MtPbannercolor

Over the course of this project, I’ve learned four things:

1. Collaboration. The Digital Press is based on a collaborative publishing model. The basic idea behind this model is that my press works closely with editors, translators, and authors throughout the publication process and shares the labor on some of the responsibilities taken on by traditional publishers. For Mobilizing the Past, the editors have literally been the most careful editors of the manuscript at every stage of the process including before and after professional proofreading. Hardly a day goes by without an email identifying some layout or textual error that I can easily resolve.

We’re also collaborating with University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee’s Libraries to make the book available via their Digital Commons and with the folks at Codifi and Mukurtu.net to help us host supplemental content for each paper in the book. Each of these collaboration has different timelines, approaches, and affordances. This not only pushed us to think about the final volume in new ways, but also complicated the the process of bringing the book to final publication.   

2. Patience. The complexity of coordinating proofreaders, editors, and collaborators across different media and modes of distribution has pushed me to be patient. As many of my colleagues and collaborators know, I can be a difficult person to work with especially as a project gains momentum toward completion. I get excited for things to be done and to show off the fruit of our labor and increasingly worry about diminishing returns. 

Working with other people with other schedules and other priorities in the production process, however, has forced me to slow down. This is one take away from the dreadful little Slow Professor book that I have come to appreciate in practice. The more colleagues that are involved, the more patience is required, and the slower a project develops.  

3. Attention to Detail. As the pace of a project slows, I’ve found that my collaborators have pushed me to be more attuned to detail. Publishing is a detail oriented pursuit, and as readers of this blog probably know, I’m not a particularly detail-oriented guy. I favor broad brushstrokes, fuzzy theory, and the done to the perfect. Collaborating with others has introduced me to a world of detail that will make The Digital Press better and while our books will never be perfect, they’re certainly be more good.

4. Humility. The most important thing that being a publisher has taught me is humility. Working with other amazing scholars and listening to how they want their work presented has pushed me recognize a wider range of academic priorities and to put mine aside in collaborative partnerships. 

This might side banal or just part of compromise, but part of my idea of running a little press is to publish interesting content in a style that I found appealing. In other words, this started, in part, as a vanity project designed to demonstrate my particular vision for academic publishing. What I’ve learned is that my personal vision is far less important for a successful outcome to a project than my ability to listen to what my collaborators want and expect.   

A Preview of Mobilizing the Past for a Digital Future: The Potential of Digital Archaeology

The most recent volume from The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota is almost ready. The book cover is ready, the page proofs are almost ready, and the ISBN has been assigned. 

MtPbannercolor

So, as publisher, I’m very pleased to give readers a little preview of Mobilizing the Past for a Digital Future: The Potential of Digital Archaeology edited by Erin Walcek Averett, Jody Michael Gordon, and Derek B. Counts. Click the link and check out the table of contents and download a copy of the expansive and critical introduction by Jody Michael Gordon, Erin Walcek Averett, and Derek B. Counts.

MtP Cover 3dirt

And, since you’re reading my blog, you should look for a little easter egg on the page.

In Defense of Housing

Peter Marcuse’s and David J. Madden’s In Defense of Housing: The Politics of Crisis (Verso 2016) is a elegant survey of issues facing housing on a global scale. For the authors, the contemporary housing crisis exists in the tension between housing as home and housing as a commodity. Marcuse and Madden juxtapose the multimillion dollar luxury condominiums in New York and London with the need for basic, affordable housing in the same cities. The multimillion dollar apartments, however, were rarely occupied whereas the basic and affordable housing are a key factor in social cohesion, personal dignity, and the health of individuals and communities. The problem is that both affordable housing and luxury condominiums represent commodities, investments, and figments of complex, global financial arrangements that belie their material presence and the central role that basic housing plays in the lives of billions of people. This book argues that for our society to restore a human character to housing and to protect it as a basic right for all people, the state (on a global scale!) must transform and undermine the system of commodifying and financializing housing. The push might come from tenant and housing activists, but the change must come from the top. 

My interest in housing emerged over the last five years of working on the archaeology of workforce housing in the Bakken oil patch in western North Dakota. Among better known issues that emerged during the Bakken Oil Boom was a housing crisis that was mitigated in part by a range of temporary workforce housing sites collectively called “man camps.” In keeping with Madden and Marcuse, these housing sites followed the flow of global capital into the region and distant landlords and eventually developers seeded the landscape with a range of housing options from tidy, new subdivisions to informal settlements filled with RVs and dusty roads. During the boom, the primary concern was housing the influx of workers, but as the boom has turned to bust, housing has become a financial concern for communities who have massive inventories of newly built apartments and homes and abandoned workforce housing sites whose investors have pulled their capital for greener pastures or been left with properties that will not generate income or appreciate.

While the Bakken boom and bust has made obvious the financial systems that fuel both extractive industries and the global housing market, it has also made visible the complex attitudes of individuals involved in most ephemeral aspects of the global housing market. The temporary workforce that supported the oil industry in the Bakken had distinct attitudes toward “home” that ranged from an affection for mobile RV to a nostalgia for distant (and often past) stability of farms, suburban neighborhoods, or rural communities. These individuals constantly made financial calculations that allowed them to negotiate the tension between home and the placelessness of the global market. The maintenance of a garden at an RV made a temporary vehicle into a home. Practices like “hot sheeting,” squatting, and corporate housing by global logistics companies allowed workers to separate where they lived from a sentimental concept of home. These strategies subverted and renegotiated the ways in which the fiscal realities of a commodified housing market on the ground and offered examples of resistance more subtle (and perhaps less idealistic) than the kind of tenant activism celebrated in Marcuse’s and Madden’s work.

Mobilizing the Past: The Blurb for the Book

I’m pretty excited that Mobilizing the Past for a Digital Future is almost ready and will appear next month from The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota. We’re sorting through some last minute edits, getting the online component finalized, and starting to spread the word.

As part of that, do check out the book blurb and the table of contents below the cover. 

MtP Cover 3dirt

Mobilizing the Past is a collection of 20 articles that explore the use and impact of mobile digital technology in archaeological field practice. The detailed case studies present in this volume range from drones in the Andes to iPads at Pompeii, digital workflows in the American Southwest, and examples of how bespoke, DIY, and commercial software provide solutions and craft novel challenges for field archaeologist. The range of projects and contexts ensures that Mobilizing the Past for a Digital Future is far more than a state-of-the-field manual or technical handbook. Instead, the contributors embrace the growing spirit of critique present in digital archaeology. This critical edge, backed by real projects, systems, and experiences, gives the book lasting value as both a glimpse into present practices as well as the anxieties and enthusiasm associated with the most recent generation of mobile digital tools.

This book emerged from a workshop funded by the National Endowment of the Humanities and convened in 2015 at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston. The conference brought together over 20 leading practitioners of digital archaeology in the U.S. for a weekend of conversation. The papers in this volume reflect the discussions at this workshop with significant additional content. Starting with an expansive introduction and concluding with a series of reflective papers, this volume illustrates how tablets, connectivity, sophisticated software, and powerful computers have transformed field practices and offer potential for a radically transformed discipline.

Edited by Erin Walcek Averett, Jody Michael Gordon, and Derek B. Counts
With contributions by Rebecca Bria, Bridget Buxton, William Caraher, J. Andrew Dufton, Steven J. R. Ellis, Samuel B. Fee, Eric C. Kansa, Morag M. Kersel, Marcelo Castro López, Christopher F. Motz, Eric E. Poehler, Brandon R. Olson, Adam Rabinowitz, Matthew Sayre, Adela Sobotkova, Matthew Spigelman, John Wallrodt, and Steven Wernke

Table of Contents

Introduction. Mobile Computing in Archaeology: Exploring and Interpreting Current Practices
Jody Michael Gordon, Erin Walcek Averett, and Derek B. Counts

1.1. Why Paperless: Technology and Changes in Archaeological Practice, 1996–2016
John Wallrodt

1.2. Are We Ready for New (Digital) Ways to Record Archaeological Fieldwork? A Case Study from Pompeii
Steven J. R. Ellis

1.3. Sangro Valley and the Five (Paperless) Seasons: Lessons on Building Effective Digital Recording Workflows for Archaeological Fieldwork
Christopher F. Motz

1.4. DIY Digital Workflows on the Athienou Archaeological Project, Cyprus
Jody Michael Gordon, Erin Walcek Averett, Derek B. Counts, Kyosung Koo, and Michael K. Toumazou

1.5. Enhancing Archaeological Data Collection and Student Learning with a Mobile Relational Database
Rebecca Bria and Kathryn E. DeTore

1.6. Digital Archaeology in the Rural Andes: Problems and Prospects
Matthew Sayre

1.7. Digital Pompeii: Dissolving the Fieldwork-Library Research Divide
Eric E. Poehler

2.1. Reflections on Custom Mobile App Development for Archaeological Data Collection
Samuel B. Fee

2.2. The Things We Can Do with Pictures: Image-Based Modeling and Archaeology
Brandon R. Olson

2.3 Beyond the Basemap: Multiscalar Survey through Aerial Photogrammetry in the Andes
Steven A. Wernke, Gabriela Oré, Carla Hernández, Aurelio Rodríguez, Abel Traslaviña, and Giancarlo Marcone

2.4. An ASV (Autonomous Surface Vehicle) for Archaeology: The Pladypos at Caesarea Maritima, Israel
Bridget Buxton, Jacob Sharvit, Dror Planer, Nikola Mišković, and John Hale

3.1. Cástulo in the 21st Century: A Test Site for a New Digital Information System
Marcelo Castro López, Francisco Arias de Haro, Libertad Serrano Lara, Ana L. Martínez Carrillo, Manuel Serrano Araque, and Justin Walsh

3.2. Measure Twice, Cut Once: Cooperative Deployment of a Generalized, Archaeology-Specific Field Data Collection System Adela Sobotkova, Shawn A. Ross, Brian Ballsun-Stanton, Andrew Fairbairn, Jessica Thompson, and Parker VanValkenburgh

3.3. CSS for Success? Some Thoughts on Adapting the Browser-Based Archaeological Recording Kit (ARK) for Mobile Recording
J. Andrew Dufton

3.4. The Development of the PaleoWay Digital Workflows in the Context of Archaeological Consulting
Matthew Spigelman, Ted Roberts, and Shawn Fehrenbach

4.1. Slow Archaeology: Technology, Efficiency, and Archaeological Work
William Caraher

4.2. Click Here to Save the Past
Eric C. Kansa

5.1. Response: Living a Semi-digital Kinda Life
Morag M. Kersel

5.2. Response: Mobilizing (Ourselves) for a Critical Digital Archaeology
Adam Rabinowitz

Oil Patch Patina

I generally don’t blog about a book until I’m done reading it, but I am pretty excited about Shannon Lee Dawdy’s recent book, Patina: A Profane Archaeology (Chicago 2015). There are some good reviews on the interwebs for anyone interested in getting a broader sense of the book.

What drew me into this book was Dawdy’s exploration of the concept of patina in the first chapter or so. In New Orleans, patina has long described the slightly thread-worn, faded, and polished character of the city. The patina is maintained, Dawdy argues intentionally and after Katrina, an additional and significant layer of “Katrina Patina” has linked places and objects explicitly to the storm and recovery.

These ideas fascinated me on two levels. First – and most whimsically – I’ve been interested in the conversations around vintage watch collecting. What’s drawn me to these conversations is the combination of technical details (and remarkable craft) and signs of wear. It appears, for example, that collectors have rather strict criteria for the development of patina on the watch. For example, evidence for interventions – such as polishing or re-applying lume to the face – are generally seen as negative, but the gradual fading of the face and the lume, particularly if it is uniform and reveals colors or patterns less visible in the original colors and design of the watch. The more interesting and uniform the patina, the more appealing (and generally pricey) they watch. For example here and here and here.

What drew me to Dawdy’s book, other than recommendations from some trusted colleagues, is that she thinks about the tension between the past and present in New Orleans, in a way reminiscent of Michael Herzfeld’s treatment Rhethmenos on Crete. I have started to wonder a bit about how things will play out in the Bakken oil patch now that it has well and truly entered the bust cycle. My experience out west is that the Bakken towns had accumulated patina during the boom. The signs of habitual wear, in Dawdy’s definition, mark the roads, buildings, and landscapes of the Bakken leaving it with a patina that lacked the romance of the old New Orleans, but is clearly visible. The worn boot scrapers at hotel and restaurant doors, the rutted roads, and the bruised and burnished tables and bars at local watering holes all carry forward evidence for the boom. This Oil Patch Patina becomes the persistent reminder of the cycle of boom and bust and the wear exerted on communities, objects, and buildings during the boom lingers on as the resources to overwrite the patinated landscape dissipates with the end of the boom. 

Teaching Thumbelina

On the recommendation of a commenter on this post, I read Michael Serres’s Thumbelina: The Culture and Technology of Millennials. (2014). As readers of this blog realize, I’ve been struggling with the growing gap between my expectations as a teacher and the expectations of my students. In particular, I have come to recognize more and more of the daily annoyances – refusing to read, refusing to follow directions, irregular grammar and style, modest levels of classroom engagement – have less to do with laziness, lack of preparation, or even just apathy, and more to do with active strategies of resistance. I find the approach to teaching has led me become more sympathetic with student attitudes and less likely to devise strategies that undermine their autonomy as learners (even if I find that their learning styles run counter to my own expectations in the classroom). In short, I’ve become more inclined to meet students where they are – bored, restive, resistant – than force them into a form that I have created.

Serres’s book is empowering because it recognizes the remarkable character of the millennial generation and suggests that it should be celebrated. In particular, he embraced the desire of millennials to be connected and to talk to one another and work and plan together rather than to lectured. For Serres, Thumbelina talks with thumbs that blur across mobile phone and table screens. Chats with multiple people simultaneously and exists within a dense network of connections. Unlike Sherry Turkle’s Alone Together, which presents a desperate and isolated generation only superficially connected through digital media, Serres offers a more uplifting view of a densely networked generation and any superficiality intrinsic in this form of networking as a generally positive rejection of such superficial identifiers as race, nationality, and even – to some extent – economic disparity.     

More importantly, this densely networked generation has a world of knowledge at their fingertips (or thumbs) and is no longer anxious to be told things by authorities. In fact, they are eager to discover connections – links if you will – on their own using their own networks to bring together disparate bits of information into a unified whole. In other words, they don’t need us to tell them what to do because they already do it. So when they are chatting away on their phones and laptops during our lectures, they’re not distracted, they’re working. They’re figuring life out, creating connections, and de-centering knowledge that we remain desperate to re-center.

In fact, Serres indicts the generations that constructed the modern university as the same who brought (in my words, not his) war, colonialism, neoliberal ideologies, and authoritarianism. Our students are actively resisting systems that privileged the authority of the teacher as the keeper of the knowledge and while we grow frustrated talking at them, the students are building new communities of knowledge on their own in defiance of our droning voices heavy with the past. What we need to do is meet our students where they are and enter their networks as legitimate partners in learning. (This is easier said than done in that we carry the burden of generations of privileging and commodifying access to information and we still claw at the vestiges of authority fortified by these practices, but Serres (and I) think it’s possible. In fact, it’s necessary because the next generation with their tools, techniques, and communities will continue to subvert how we do things.)

The book is short and has done more to fuel my imagination than to solidify some particular line of argument. More than that, it’s overwhelmingly positive. I’m increasingly fatigued by articles that tell me that I need to slow down (and to realize that I contributed to this is painful), to read less, to say “no,” and to savor the moment. I wonder if I share more with my students than the authors of these works. I want to read more. I want to speed up. I want to do less with more things. And most importantly, I just want to do stuff. I get tired to talking about things, building skills, practicing, planning, and learning. Maybe this is why I found Serres work so refreshing.  

Movement and Empire in a Connected Mediterranean

I’ve finally found time to check out C. Concannon and L. Mazurka, Across the Corrupting Sea: Post-Braudelian Approaches to the Ancient Eastern Mediterranean. (Ashgate 2016). David Pettegrew and I were lucky enough to have an article in this volume which is joined by some find contributions from archaeologists working around the Mediterranean basin.

I was particularly excited to read Jody Gordon’s article, “To Obey by Land and Sea: Cultural Identity in Hellenistic and Roman Cyprus,” in part because it deals with issues that I’ve played with from time to time, and in part because I knew it to be a summary of some points in his massive dissertation from the University of Cincinnati. Gordon argues that the place of Cyprus in the Mediterranean situated its relations with various imperial states during the Hellenistic and Roman periods and fundamental inflected Cypriot culture. Gordon’s arguments, at their best, are nuanced and recognize that some elements of foreign influence on the island – like the Hellenistic style tombs from Paphos – are more likely to represent intrusions, whereas others – like the adoption of Roman style mosaic floors depicting games – are more likely to be hybrid expressions negotiated over centuries of sustained contact between Cypriots and the wider Roman world. What was particularly clever in Gordon’s piece is that he recognized that the Cypriots used their island status to negotiate its relationship between the various imperial forces in the Eastern Mediterranean. While he could not detail every opportunity for interaction, Gordon’s analysis could be extended both earlier and later than his article. For example, it is clear that Ptolemaic control over Cyprus in the Early Hellenistic period was not simply an expression of Ptolemy’s military and political superiority in the region, but a product of the  wrangling of the late Iron Age kingdoms on Cyprus which allied themselves with various external political powers (and here is clearly echoes of work being done on the contemporary Roman world). Cypriots on a smaller scale presumably negotiated similar understandings through their engagement with Hellenistic and Roman material culture, adopting expressions that served local and regional purposed while ignoring others. The assemblages that these relationships to larger imperial state and networks produced on the island – mitigated by economic, political, religious, and even vague social and cultural factors (taste? memory? internal rivalries between communities?) – created the complex tableaux of sites that constitute our understanding of Cypriot archaeology and history. Like a Foucauldian text, the very idea of Cypriot sites only appears in the relationships with others within the larger discourse of the Hellenistic and Roman world. Good stuff here!

Concannon and Mazurka volume does offer a bit more sweeping views of the Mediterranean. There is a timeliness to their revisiting of Braudel massive Mediterranean and his successors – particular Horden and Purcell’s equally monumental The Corrupting Sea. The notion of the Mediterranean as a place of interaction and in Horden and Purcell’s words, connectivity, is as visible in the contemporary European Union (or in the increasingly transnational economic agents who navigate both the physical and fiscal Mediterranean(s) of the contemporary world) and the current refugee crisis. The movement of refugees from Syria and Afghanistan to the coast of the Mediterranean reflects both the continuities that Braudel and others have described in the region as well as the breakdown of the national borders. In other words, the pre-national Mediterranean of Bruadel and Horden and Purcell does offer lessons and methods for understanding our increasingly post-national world present.