PIMo is a four-year global research project undertaken by scholars from the humanities and social sciences, including historians, scholars of literary, visual, and material culture, philosophers, mathematicians, and maritime, biological, and bio-behavioral sciences. It addresses the entangled histories of displacement of human subjects within and from the Mediterranean from the fifteenth to twentieth centuries.
The project provides a critical historical context and understanding for the current migration crisis in Europe in terms of the intensity of emotional responses of displaced peoples and the communities they orbit and join. It investigates multiple historical case studies of the movement of people through religious persecution, slavery and indentured labour, trade, exploration, and imperialism, curiosity, and environmental and social catastrophe. Within the deeply entangled or intertwined history and cultures of the Mediterranean, the project introduces the term ‘displacement’ as a way to reconceptualise the movement of people with awareness, historical acuity, and compassion.
Attending to the phenomenon of displacement as a connective tissue of human experience does not presume (or judge) the conditions of movement (voluntary or involuntary), but seeks to recover and understand individuals and communities in light of their particular experiences of re/location. By tracing the entangled movement of people–and the objects, writing, and ideas that accompany them–this project understands displacement and dislocation as shared human experience, while remaining attentive to its geographical, political, and historical specificities.