Lecture Series: Urban Governance and Civic Participation in Words and Stone
Susanne Rau, one of the spokespersons of the KFG, and our former fellows Zoë Opačić and Katalin Szende have organised a lecture series of renowned speakers, who will trace the origins of civic participation in political thought and explore its forms of expression in written and visual media from Late Antiquity to the seventeenth century:
09/30/2021: Maarten Prak (University of Utrecht): Citizenship in Premodern Europe and Asia
07/10/2021: Caroline Goodson (University of Cambridge): Mediterranean Cities in the Early Middle Ages
14/10/2021: Fabrizio Nevola (University of Exeter): Writing on Walls in Early Modern Italy
21/10/2021: Beat Kumin (University of Warwick): Rural Subjects? Governance, Participation and Self-Representation in Imperial Villages
28/10/2021: Miri Rubin (Queen Mary, University of London): How Strange Were the Strangers of Medieval Cities? [TBC]
04/11/2021: Andreas Lehnertz (Hebrew University, Jerusalem): Seals and Oath-Taking: Jewish Civic Participation in the Medieval Holy Roman Empire
11/11/2021: Vanessa Harding (Birkbeck, University of London): Guilds, Fraternities and Civic Life in London, 1300-1700
18/11/2021: Martin Scheutz (University of Vienna): Armed Citizens in Town. Control of Weapons and Armories
25/11/2021: Achim Timmermann (University of Michigan): Calvary Is Everywhere: Capital Punishment and the Civic Imagination
02/12/2021: Sara Keller – Susanne Rau (University of Erfurt): Urban Governance in South Asian Cities
09/12/2021: Grigor Boykov (Austrian Academy of Sciences): When “The Land of Filibe Became Egypt and Meriç Turned Into Nile”: Governance, Architectural Patronage, and Water Management of the Mid-Fifteenth-Century Plovdiv
16/12/2021: Ferenc Horcher (University of Public Service, Budapest): The Political Ideology of the Renaissance and Early Modern City – From Bruni to Althusius
Susanne Rau comments that: “I am very much looking forward to this lecture series – because we can learn a lot about the history of democracy here. However, this history does not begin with the implementation of the right to vote in the 19th century, as it is often portrayed. We have to go back to medieval and early modern cities to learn about the invention of an art of governance and civic participation. The lecture series will be an exciting journey into the past of our cities”.
While Katalin Szende, another one of the organizers, points out that “Citizenship and civic participation are hot topics in current political discourse, not least because of the limitations imposed on their practices by various stakeholders. We have invited renowned experts to examine these notions through a critical lens and against a longer historical perspective, in the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period. The talks to which we cordially invite you will explore their forms of expression in written and visual media and their reflection in political thought, replacing outdated common assumptions with insights from new research”.
Zoë Opačić adds that: “This exciting and timely lecture series will help us examine medieval and early modern roots of our civic and urban societies – the institutions, systems and practices that hold us together as individuals and allow us to prosper but also divide and oppress. As an art historian I especially look forward to the wealth of visual material we will encounter across time and space. The tone is set by our poster image of Prague’s iconic Town Hall. A symbol of the city and its governance in the Middle Ages with an imposing tower and an astronomical clock, it was vastly extended in neo-Renaissance style in the 19th century, only to be blown up at the end of World War Two destroying its precious archives. Democracy is indeed very fragile and forged over a long period of time.”
For further information, please see this website. The events are hosted by Central European University’s Democracy Institute. The lecture series is open to the public and students are encouraged to attend. If you attend the entire lecture series and write an essay (8-10 pages), you can receive a certificate of attendance. To register for one of the talks, simply click on the individual entries.