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Europe and its Many Identities Professor Salvatore Settis for

Summary: Europe and its Many Identities
Professor Salvatore Settis for
Il Mediterraneo: valori e valore dei Beni Culturali
Napoli, 25 e 26 ottobre 2005
In the arduous but exciting process of European construction, it is clear that the
defining models of 'cultural identity' that we will be able to elaborate in our common
European fatherland will be extremely influential for the rest of the world, with an echo
effect that is nowadays difficult to assess in full, but whose consequences would be
altogether impossible to deny. In this framework, it is crucial that we do not emphasize a
definition of cultural identity that is isolationist, but rather one that is on the contrary based
upon the complementarity, upon the exchanges between cultures.
According to this model, the idea of cultural identity is not based upon exclusion, but rather
on a principle of reciprocal inclusion. The example of the Mediterranean area is perfectly
appropriate in this case: Mediterranean cannot exclusively imply Europe, but Africa and
Asia, too; it implies Christianity (including Orthodox Christianity), Judaism and Islam. It
does not constitute a border between global North and global South, but rather an intricate
network of communication, with a series of ample and extremely lively spaces of transition,
such as the Romanized Northern Africa, the Islamized Spain and Sicily; or a city that is
simultaneously the Byzantium of the greek settlers, the Constantinople of the Christian
emperors and the Turkish Istanbul.


Source: Abbondandolo, Alberto - Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa


Collections: Mathematics