AMERICA AND THE MEDITERRANEAN

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AISNA, the American Studies Association of Italy (a member of EAAS - European Association of American Studies) chose Genoa for this major Conference because of its many and deep historical ties to America, from Columbus to the millions of emigrants who passed through its port, one of the oldest and largest of the Mediterranean. It is possible to see the Mediterranean not as a set of contrasts and incompatibilities but as a network of commerce and communication (the Genoese were great bankers). In the same way, as one speaker pointed out, Americans have often defined themselves in contrast to the Mediterranean. This conference showed that the origins of American culture are Mediterranean as much as Atlantic - Latin as well as Anglo-Saxon.This is an important realization in a world where ignorant armies still clash by night. Genoa, the host in July 2001 of a troubled Group of Eight meeting, may have made a more thoughtful if less advertised contribution to international understanding in November of the same year with this Conference on “America and the Mediterranean”.

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