“Constructivism becomes a critical force only
when exercised from a rigid academic standpoint
without prescriptive investment in the region-
building enterprise itself.”

N. Götz, “Spatial Politics & Fuzzy Regionalism,”
Baltic Worlds, 9 (2016) 3–4: 56.

The Baltic and the Mediterranean Seas are focal areas of regional imagination that have been affected by the ‘new geography’ after the end of the Cold War. ‘Spaces of Expectation’ analyses the meaning attached to the Baltic and the Mediterranean, investigates the mental maps correlated to historical representation. It compares the imagination of the two regions, and studies their entanglement.

The project examines how sea-related historico-spatial ideas serve the creation, maintenance, and deconstruction of collective identities and cohesion in two macro-regional settings. It aims at assessing the historical potential or telos that is ascribed to the Baltic Sea and the Mediterranean today. Asking for the use of history in regional narratives in a diachronic, comparative, and transregional perspective, «Spaces of Expectation» seeks to generate new knowledge about the Baltic Sea and the Mediterranean as imagined stages for the unfolding of history.

The project is structured around three related methodological and theoretical complexes: area studies, mental mapping, and conceptual history. It aims at self-reflective studies with cross-regional comparative, transregional, and global perspectives. It engages in a trans-disciplinary review of concepts and approaches, linking historical and political science studies to earlier psychological and geographical mental mapping approaches. While acknowledging analytical categories of conceptual history such as ‘spaces of experience’ and ‘horizons of expectation’, we probe a hybrid third concept, ‘space of expectation’, thereby acquiring a new receptor that links conceptual history to area studies and mental mapping approaches.

‘Spaces of Expectation’ is coordinated by Norbert Götz and financed by Östersjöstiftelsen (Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies). It is part of the ‘Seabound Imagination’-cooperation for research and training run since 2010 by Prof. Rolf Petri (Ca’ Foscari University Venice) and Prof. Norbert Götz (Södertörn University Stockholm).