May 24, 2021
Title: Migrations and Crisis in the Mediterranean: An Anthropological dialogue on past and present migrations
Abstract: This dissertation consists of a diachronic investigation of migrant experiences in the Mediterranean. I build on current archaeological and anthropological research to examine migration during “crisis”, broadly defined to include both anthropogenic and natural disasters as factors which have contributed to (but not been the exclusive cause of) individual and collective decisions to migrate. Through the examination of ancient and contemporary crisis-related migrations, I seek to understand spatiality and materiality as critical factors in dynamic migrant journeys and reflect on the long continuity of adaptation by migration. Ultimately, I seek to answer the following questions: How do migrant journeys unfold, and what factors are considered when choosing routes of migration and final destinations? How does the spatial variability of social and environmental factors shape migration choices? How do migrant journeys reflect dynamic decision-making and adaptations on the part of migrants as active agents? How does the materiality of migration journeys and experiences impact identities?
Our understanding of migrant decision-making and identity will benefit from this diachronic study in which past and present migrations are brought into dialogue with each other. Archaeology provides a depth to the critical human behavior of migration which cultural anthropology has difficulty accessing, while sociocultural anthropology lends greater explanatory power to the motivations and impacts of migration and provides insights into the full and complex process of migration which can be difficult to see in the archaeological record. Thus, the integration of ancient and contemporary data emphasizes migration as a common human experience and contributes to a holistic understanding of human migration.
Committee: Eleni Hasaki (co-chair), Megan Carney (co-chair), Emma Blake, Charlotte Pearson, Gary Christopherson