This seminar explores narratives from the Arab Mediterranean and the literary themes that emerge from them: cosmopolitanism, nostalgia, illicitness. We will consider how the Mediterranean has been associated with visceral experience and social vices in literature: a history of travel culture attracted by freedoms, by different and dangerous mores of the region. Despite being a diverse region, encompassing many cultures and languages, surrounding an entire sea, the Mediterranean has been depicted as homogenous–—made up of tourism sites, social vices, pleasure, adventure. At the same time, the Mediterranean has been portrayed as a site of dangerous, illicit, clandestine migration. We will explore the paradox of the Mediterranean as both liberating site of desire through tourism, escape, adventure, as well as its current reinvention as site of threat, danger, and criminal activity. Themes of fantasy, tourism, adventure, gender stereotypes, migration will also contribute to considering the Mediterranean as sea, region, and way of representing diverse cultures.