2022 Annual Conference on Urbanity

From 16 to 18 November, our annual conference takes place at Ettersburg Castle, close to Weimar. The conference is convened by Susanne Rau and Sara Keller and organised by Klara Maeve O’Reilly.

Confirmed speakers so far include: Naveen Kanalu, Anne Murphy, Jörg Oberste, Epsita Halder, Christina Williamson, Laura Verdelli, Katalin Szende, Annette Haug, Gil Klein, Austin Collins, Marlis Arnhold, Mara Albrecht, Babett-Edelmann-Singer, Nimrod Luz, Supriya Chaudhuri, Zoe Opacic and Nora Lafi.

Drawing on the results of two summer workshops – one on the benefits and pitfalls of typologising cities, the other on morphing urbanities across time and space – the conference has three main parts.

The first part is decicated to a retrospection of the first four funding years of the UrbRel group: which concepts have been especially useful to our research endeavour and why? How have we progressed in grasping the mutual formation of religion and urbanity and the history of this formation from the first millenium BCE until today? How do we approach the various processes of this mutual formation in Europe, across the Mediterranean and in South Asia?

The second part summarises the preliminary discussions on cities and urbanities, as they were engaged during the preparatory workshops “Typologising Cities” (May 2022) and “Metamorphoses of Urbanities” (June 2022). A selection of topic and case studies from these events will stimulate round table discussions focusing on the differentiation of cities and urbanities: which grid of criteria and parameters are useful in qualifying the experience of urbanity? How do religious phenomena such as religious pluralism or secularisation contribute to the shaping/changing of the urban?

The third part looks at urbanity through the lens of selected case studies and themes. Contributors will present research results on urbanity in archaeology, history, sociology, ethnology, cultural studies, philosophy and/or linguistics. In the past years, our discussions have pointed out the potential of the non-locality of urbanity, with striking examples of urban experiences outside the city, such as in the Roman villa, the Buddhist Saṃgharāma (monastery) or the theatre of a small contemporary town.

Here is the full concept note:


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