GRAINES Summer School 2014
THE EUROPEAN CITY IN TRANSFORMATION: FROM THE EARLY MODERN PERIOD TO THE PRESENT
Cities and their role in transforming communities, lifestyles and societies of the present day have recently received a lot of scholarly interest. The majority of these studies, however, were done by urban planners, sociologists, ethnologists, anthropologists and architects, concentrating on the innovative solutions to current urbanisation problems and on future-oriented governance. In consequence, the larger historical dimension of urban transformation in a longue durée perspective has often been tackled inadequately in these studies. At the same time, historians of the early modern and modern periods have pointed out that the fundamental change present-day cities are undergoing is not a new phenomenon. They have also singled out specific periods as thresholds that signify the emergence of fundamentally new urban societies: – the Mediaeval urban revolution in Europe that extended to the Early Modern period in some European regions and saw the emergence of modern municipal legislation and print culture; – the industrial revolution of the nineteenth century and the emergence of bourgeois urban spaces and metropolitan identity; – the twentieth-century radical post-war reconstructions and the subsequent reaction of the conservationist movement; – the urban transformation of the last two decades in a larger global context. Taking a closer look at these different historiographical traditions, the summer school “The European City in Transformation: From the Early Modern Period to the Present” will aim at juxtaposing and critically evaluating them. The city of Vienna offers an excellent opportunity to research urban transformation in a longue durée perspective in the immediate urban environment. During our seminars, reading groups, lectures and group excursions, we will discuss how the materiality and the changing structure of cities can be approached through diverse research methods and techniques: historical methodology, approaches from the social sciences, archaeology, architectural planning, literary studies, and the applications of the new media. We will focus on specific aspects of city planning and urban governance from the Early Modern period until today: structural reshaping of city districts, municipal regulations, policing, hygiene, urban poor relief and welfare. Turning our attention to urban groups (social as well as structural stratification, urban migrants, ethnic, religious and class groups, gender aspects, etc.) as well as on specific examples of urban violence, we will look at winners as well as losers of the transformation processes. Finally, the emergence and the changing conceptualisation of urban representation as represented in literature, the fine arts, photography, film and the new media will be analysed. Is “European city” a meaningful category of analysis? Can we speak of a typology of cities specific to the continent? What similarities and differences can be identified by systematically comparing urban change in different time periods and historical regions of Europe, including regions that lie in what is often assumed to be the margins of the continent, especially Eastern Europe and the Near East? How meaningful is it to limit the analysis of historic urban transformation to Europe? Should we include in our analysis colonial cities that, according to some architectural historians, constitute a direct cultural transfer of European planning on the culturally different regions? Answers to these questions, and many others, offer new insights into the diversity of the modern European experience and the role of cities in transforming societies in Europe and beyond. The summer school is organised by GRAINES in cooperation with the research foci “European History”, “Austria in its Context” and “Economy and Society” of the Faculty of Historical and Cultural Studies of the University of Vienna. The working language of the summer school is English. For further enquiries please contact Markian Prokopovych firstname.lastname@example.org.