UCL Department of Geography


Best Master's Dissertation Prize in Contemporary Levantine Studies honourable mention

25 July 2023

MSc student Hannah Schütt has received an honourable mention from the Council for British Research in the Levant for her work Tracing the practised geographies of the Mediterranean Sea.

Hannah Schütt

She tells us about her work exploring alternative perspectives on human movement and migration in the Mediterranean Sea, challenging the conventional ideas tied to nation-states and presenting new possibilities.

"In the Mediterranean Sea, conflicting imaginaries around human movement and space meet. What is framed as unauthorised border crossings can also be understood as possibilities and other modes of mobility.

Frustrated with the sense of illegality and exceptionalism that clings to talk about migrations across the Mediterranean Sea, I wanted to investigate what we can find out when we think about these movements.

"My aim was to create a counter map against the stubborn idea that migration always needs to be thought through the vocabulary of nation-states.

This sparked a whole set of frustrations as I was not sure what it actually was that I was looking for.

"In the end, I opted for the selection of three projects that travelled the Mediterranean to enable an understanding of its emotional and practiced geographies: The street performances of a clowning group in Egypt, the replica of the new clocktower in Homs, Syria, in Katsikas refugee camp, and the practice of burning one’s identity papers used by people in the Maghreb for migrating clandestinely.

"Instead of a cartographic map which is made up of the lines between states and their areas of authority, we are presented with a glimpse into the possibilities that arise when we think about movement outside the authorisation of nation-states and instead through channels of community and radical possibilities.

"Such a way of thinking about the Mediterranean Sea has the potential to push open the door to a future that is not bound by the confinements of nation-states and rooted imagery of people and places.

Learning that my project received an honourable mention for the Best Master's Dissertation Prize from the Council for British Research in the Levant was simultaneously a deeply gratifying and humbling experience."

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