Gepubliceerd op 07-12-2023

Call for papers – The Fragmented City in Premodern Europe

Call for Papers

The Fragmented City in Premodern Europe
Workshop held at Antwerp on 25 January 2024, organised by the Centre for Urban History at UAntwerp (Bente Marschall & Peter Stabel).

Call for Papers

This workshop wants to explore the notion of the fragmented city. It can be defined as urban settlements with multiple and often various political, legal, cultural or social entities operating in the same space, in which the local (urban) government lacked control over the entire territory or did not encompass all social relations within the city limits. Pre-modern European cities were defined by a patchwork of distinct enclaves with far-reaching implications that influenced the economic, political, juridical and cultural lives of their residents. By analysing patterns of fragmentation, the workshop aims to bring together early career and advanced scholars to trace the effects of these divisions on urban cohesion and urban agency. It starts from the idea that cities did not constitute a unified whole, either as an economic unit, a political body or a cultural scenery. It is now more widely accepted that the medieval city was polycentric, encompassing multiple power centres and distinct legal frameworks. While the subject has been predominantly explored from a political perspective, there is an increasing number of studies emphasising the social and economic consequences of extra-territoriality. McSheffrey’s article (2013), for instance, demonstrates how the enclave of St Martin-le-Grand in London served as a refuge, an economic free zone and a sanctuary. To be clear, a juridically divided urban landscape touches on a range of issues, from the specific legal position of the clergy and the avoidance of taxation on beer and wine, to the use of economic advantages by foreign merchant guilds and the production and consumption of food and durable consumer goods.

In short, this workshop aims at bringing together social, political, economic and cultural approaches.

Papers can encompass – but are not limited to – the following subjects related to a divided urban territory:

  • Clustering of occupations
  • The position of ecclesiastical enclaves
  • International trading networks and merchant guilds
  • Social and cultural identity
  • Migration
  • Presence of privileged or disadvantaged groups, etc.

If you would like to participate in this workshop, please send a title and short abstract in English (ca. 250 words) to bente.marschall@uantwerpen.be

What: International Workshop “The Fragmented City in Premodern Europe”

When: Thursday 25th of January 2024

Where: University of Antwerp (Belgium)

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