Carmen González Gutiérrez on Religion and Urbanity in al-Andalus

Carmen González Gutiérrez, an associated member of the KFG “Religion and Urbanity: Reciprocal Formations” will deliver a paper on ‘Archaeology and Heritage of al-Andalus: New Inputs, Approaches and Experiences from Córdoba’ in New Cairo, Egypt.

She describes the contents of her talk in the following way:

Al-Andalus has traditionally been a very appealing field of study for researchers. However, the history of its origins, development and final disappearance has usually been addressed through the information contained in medieval written sources, which is often biased, partial and incomplete. Thus, historiography has been conceiving al-Andalus as a rather exotic reality, and its religious and cultural differences with the rest of the Medieval Europe resulted in the isolation of the Andalusi reality from wider historical and theoretical debates. Fortunately, this panorama is changing thanks to recent and on-going recovery of archaeological remains and sites. This is allowing the incorporation of the Islamic past of the Iberian Peninsula into the wider picture, and clarifying its role in the urban, historical and political global dynamics in the medieval Mediterranean. This lecture aims to introduce new research on al-Andalus focusing specifically on the case of Córdoba, capital under the Umayyads, which has witnessed extensive and relevant archaeological excavations in the last decades

Konstantin Akinsha to give paper on “Writing the Fifth Gospel: Interbellum and the beginning of World War II”

The KFG’s fellow Konstantin Akinsha will give a paper at tomorrow’s colloquium series of the Max Weber Centre on his research project. The paper is entitled: “Writing the Fifth Gospel: Interbellum and the beginning of World War II”. It discusses the construction of ecclesiastical buildings on Christian holy places in Mandatory Palestine from 1919 to 1940.

The project is analyzing the notion of the holy places belonging to the sacred geography of the Holy Land. After the establishment of the British Mandate for Palestine, numerous churches and sanctuaries were erected on important biblical sites. Architect Antonio Barluzzi (1884-1960), who created the majority of the new churches developed quite a specific architectural style, which could be defined as the style of emotional illusions. His architecture of experience produced with the help of different tricks and devices does not have comparable examples in the European tradition.

On the eve of World War II, the Catholic authorities dreamed about Italian occupation of Palestine and Rome domination in the Holy Land. Such dreams manifested
themselves in the project of the gigantic Cathedral of the Holy Sepulchre, which had
to replace the old church and to change both the cityscape and structure of Jerusalem forever.

Other parts of the larger research project include:

  • The Age of Empires: Cathedrals as a Fortress and the Marker – Drafting the National Borders in the Holy Land
  • Filling the Void – Italian Architecture in Interbellum Palestine  
  • Who Owns the Tomb of Jesus? 1930s Plans of Reconstruction of the Church of Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem.
  • Saints among the Enemies: Architectural Projects of La Custodia di Terra Santa during the First Decades of the State of Israel.

The paper takes place o nthe 21st of January and starts at 10:15 in the Max Weber Centre, on the seventh Floor. All are welcome!

CfP: Religious Guides to Urbanity, Erfurt, 11-12 June 2020

International workshop organized by the Humanities Centre for Advanced Studies “Religion and Urbanity: Reciprocal Formations” (funded by the German Research Foundation – FOR 2779)

We invite abstracts for a conference on ‘Religious guides to urbanity’. This workshop focuses on the regulation of urban life through orders, ordinances, instructions and other forms of written authoritative communication that are spurred by religious motivations, betray religious concerns, or target religious behaviors and misbehaviors. It takes a broad chronological and cross-cultural view in order to compare urban productions as diverse as anti-idolatrous regulations authored by late antique Christian and Jewish religious specialists, instructions like the Muslim hisba, council orders of early modern European towns (Polizeyordnungen), and other textualized strategies to promote and/or impose a ‘safe urban life’.

As suggested by the notion of ‘urban religion’, which considers the spatially informed dialectic of co-production of urban life and religious communication, the focus of the workshop is twofold: on the one hand, it addresses the regulation of religious life and the ways in which religious texts aim to shape the urban conditions of living, and on the other hand it looks at how urban spaces, actors, and ideals of urbanity generate more or less binding projects of religious normativity.

The workshop takes a source-based approach and seeks to take a close look at individual sources and their interpretation to enable meaningful comparisons across cultures past and present.

Abstracts should be 300 to 500 words in length. The deadline for submitting an abstract is 15 February 2020. We hope that the publication of the papers after the conference will be a cornerstone in the emerging field of urban religion.

Conference room and accommodation will be provided at the Augustinerkloster (Augustinerstraße 10) in the historical centre of Erfurt. Travel expenses will be refunded according to the Thüringer Reisekostengesetz (economy flight, 2nd class train ticket).

Abstracts and any queries can be submitted to:

Conveners: Martin Christ, Emiliano Urciuoli

Call for Applications: Fellowships in Humanities Centre “Religion and Urbanity: Reciprocal Formations”

The Kollegforschungsgruppe (KFG, “Humanities Centre for Advanced Studies”) „Religion and Urbanity. Reciprocal Formations” at the Max Weber Centre for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies of the University of Erfurt (Max-Weber-Kolleg) invites applications for fellowships for the time period between winter semester and summer semester 2020/2021. Fellowships are granted for a period of 3 to 6 months. Fellows must reside in Erfurt during the fellowship period.

To be eligible for a fellowship, the candidate must propose a research project to be conducted during the fellowship within the framework of the KFG and have an outstanding academic record, at least one published monograph and a minimum of three years of postdoc research experience. Fellows are required to participate actively in the interdisciplinary and intercultural life of the Centre and to contribute to the weekly colloquia of the KFG.

Please submit your application with a cover letter that indicates the preferred period for your stay at Erfurt, an outline of the research project you would like to pursue addressing the KFG´s research focus (2,000-4,000 words) with a stringent discussion of your a) research questions, b) the state of research on the topic, c) the methodological approach and the leading hypotheses as well as d) a working schedule with a projected date of completion and publications of results, a curriculum vitae, copies of your last university Degrees, llist of publications and electronic copies of up to three of your monographs or articles relevant for the research focus as a combined pdf-file (maximum of 15 MB, publications may be presented in separate files) until 12 January 2020 to

For further details, please see the full call for applications and our homepage. Informal enquiries may be addressed to Dr. Elisa Iori (

Annual Conference: Urban Heterarchies: Changing Religious Authority and Social Power in Cities

The KFG’s annual conference on Urban Heterarchies will take place from 11 to 13 December 2019. It is organised by Emiliano Urciuoli, Susanne Rau and Jörg Rüpke. To register, pelase contact Valeria Wahl.

According to archaeologist Carole L. Crumley, heterarchies are systems in which the component elements have ‘the potential of being unranked (relative to other elements)’ and/or the potential of being ‘ranked in a number of ways, depending on systemic requirements’. In contrast, explains archaeologist Alison E. Rautman, the concept of a ‘hierarchy’ ‘involves three assumptions regarding the organization of the constituent elements of a system: that a lineal ranking of constituent elements is in fact present; that this ranking is permanent (that is, the system of ranking has temporal stability); and the ranking of elements according to different criteria will result in the same overall ranking (that is, the relationships of elements is pervasive and integral to the system, and not situational)’.

For the issue of the reciprocal formation of religion and urbanity, ‘heterarchies’ open up diverse directions of analysis within cities as well as with regard to interurban networks. In both fields, the conference papers will deal with institutional arrangements as much as media of representation, narratives of legitimation, practices of comparison, strategies of mutual recognition or critique and interference up to the point of violence.

As a result, we will try to develop more complex models of constellations and paths of development that will help us to better understand and explain religious change and changes of urbanity. The conference will bring together leading experts focusing on empirical and theoretical questions and representing multiple disciplines, such as religious studies, Asian studies, history, classics, archaeology, geography, and sociology, in order to bring the heuristically promising concept of heterarchy to bear on the study of the cross-cultural and cross-temporal entanglements of religion and urbanity.

For the programme and further Information, see here.

The KFG’s Summer Activites

As the semester starts again, members of the DFG-funded Kollegforschungsgruppe (KFG) were active during the past months in a range of ways.

Asuman Lätzer-Lasar was a visiting fellow at UC Irvine, California, and guest of Andromache Karanika, who is an expert on gender and performance in ancient Greek literature. Topics of discussion included the role and agency of Greek women in religious networks, for example in Homer. Emiliano Urciuoli was a visiting research scholar at the University of Turin. As part of the stay, he gave a presentation on his 2018 book Servire due padroni: Una genealogia dell’uomo politico cristiano (50–313 e.v.).

Members of the KFG have also been active in organising workshops and conferences as well as participating in events themselves. Emiliano Urciuoli organised an international conference on Christian origins (see here for the programme), while Martin Christ gave papers at the annual meeting of the German History Society in London and at a workshop on “Rethinking Objects: New Directions for Pre-modern Materiality Studies”, held at Newcastle University. Jörg Rüpke presented papers in London, Greece and Japan. Our fellow Pralay Kanungo was a panel chair and discussant in ICAS 11 (International Convention of Asian Scholars) held in Leiden in July. He also presented a paper on “the Rise of Hindu Nationalism in Odisha: An Analysis of the 2019 Parliament Elections” in Paris in June. Elisa Iori delivered a paper “Indo-Greeks in Swat. The political program of Menander and his successors” in Bologna in September. Susanne Rau gave a keynote address and helped to lead a study week in Trento on “Migration and the European City. Social and Cultural Perspectives from Early Modernity to the Present”.

We were pleased to promote the work of the KFG during these events and to talk to colleagues and the public about overlap with their interests and work. As ever, if you want to know more about aspects of our work or would like to talk about potential collaborations, please feel free to get in touch. Furthering these connections, we were also happy to welcome our new fellows: Qudsiya Contractor, Kristine Iara, David Garbin, Saskia Abrahms-Kavunenko and Marian Burchardt.

Susanne Rau, Jörg Rüpke and Emiliano Urciuoli continued organising the KFG’s annual conference on “Urban Heterarchies: Changing Religious Authority and Social Power in Cities”. This international and interdisciplinary conference takes place in Erfurt from 11 to 13 December 2019. If you are interested in attending or for further information, please contact Emiliano. Our fellow Rana Behal has co-organised the XIIIth International Conference on Labour History, held at the V.V Giri National Labour Institute, NOIDA, India from 12 to 14 March 2020. Members of the KFG are also in the process of organising two sessions for the annual conference for the European Assocaition for Urban History, held in Antwerp from 2 to 5 September 2020. The call for papers for this conference has been extended, so you can still submit an application. Sara Keller is in the early stages of organising a workshop on “Accessing Water in the South Asian City”, which is provisionally scheduled for 20-21 May 2021.

Our activities for public engagement and outreach have also continued. On November 8, the KFG will take part in the “Long Night of Scholarship” (“Lange Nacht der Wissenschaften”) where we will present aspects of our work to the public. Additionally, Sara Keller and others have been busy planning the next version of the KFG’s “City Walks”, an initiative that discusses Religion and Urbanity in Erfurt. For reports on the first two versions, see the blog entries. And for some reflections on “Erfurt-ness” linked to the walks, see here.

Work on the KFG’s main publication, a Handbook of Religion and Urbanity, continues and members have published aspects of their research as well. Martin Christ, for example, has published a chapter on “Conflict and Coexistence: The Case of Early Modern Upper Lusatia” in the volume Rethinking Europe: War and Peace in the Early Modern German Lands (ed. by Gerhild Scholz Williams, Sigrun Haude, Christian Schneider).

Members of the KFG have also used the summer period for research trips, archival visits and fieldwork. Asuman Lätzer-Lasar visited Rome in order to meet the main excavators of the Mater Magna temple and surrounding area (Patrizio Pensabene and Fulvio Coletti), as well as the excavator of the Basilica Hilariana (Carlo Pavolini). Martin Christ undertook research in London’s Metropolitan Archives and the National Archives in Kew. Susanne Rau continued her ongoing research on Lyon, which she wrote about in a recent post, and Simone Wagner visited archives for her doctoral dissertation, leading to some interesting (and entertaining) reflections. Elisa Iori travelled to the Swat District, Pakistan, for archaeological work. She will report on her experiences and work in the next blog post…

CfP for EAUH Antwerp: “Religious Guides to Urbanity” and “Religion, Mobility and Co-spatiality in Cities”

We are pleased that the DFG-funded KFG “Religion and Urbanity: Reciprocal Formations” has received two sessions at the European Association for Urban History conference 2020. The conference takes place in Antwerp from 2 to 5 September 2020. We invite applications for papers to be presented at the two sessions.

The first one, organised by Martin Christ, Emiliano Urciuoli and Charlotte Elisheva  Fonrobert, concerns the topic “Religious Guides to Urbanity”. The session focuses on the regulation of urban life of both migrants and long-term residents through orders, council decrees, ordinances, guild statutes, instructions and other forms of written authoritative communication that are spurred by religious motivations, betray religious concerns, or target religious behaviors and misbehaviors. It asks how such regulations sought to fix urban behaviour in cities which were constantly changing and how the movements within the cities influenced the instructions in turn. It takes a broad chronological and cross-cultural view in order to compare urban productions as diverse as anti-idolatrous regulations authored by late antique Christian and Jewish religious specialists, sets of rules like the Muslim hisba, church ordinances of early modern European towns (Kirchenordnungen), and several other textualized strategies to promote or impose a ‘safe urban life’. As suggested by the notion of urban religion, which considers the spatially informed dialectic of co-production of urban life and religious communication, the focus of the panel is twofold: on the one hand, it addresses the regulation of religious life and the ways in which religious texts aim to shape the urban conditions of living and, on the other hand, it looks at how urban spaces, actors, and ideals of urbanity generate more or less binding projects of religious normativity. The panel takes a source-based approach and seeks to take a close look at individual sources and their interpretation to enable meaningful comparisons across cultures past and presents as well as a diverse range of regions. 

The second session, led by Susanne Rau, Jörg Rüpke and Michel Lussault, concentrates on “Religion, Mobility and Co-spatiality in Cities“. It proposes that urban space is characterized by multiple overlapping spaces, created by the imaginations and use of space and complicated by the movement of different people and groups. Religion offers an interesting lens into this phenomenon, as it is as much a technique to mark out space by ritual usages, ephemeral or lasting sacralisations of space, as it is a cultural technique to imagine and perform the transgression of concrete space with a view to divine addressees etc. Thus, its use of space is very different from other uses of spaces. Hence, it is conflicting or has the potential of being instrumentalised for different purposes. The organisers particularly welcome case studies European, Mediterranean and Asian cities of all epochs on double or parallel uses and interpretation of space, especially when they are caused by religious groups. Theoretical papers are welcome, as are considerations on simultanea or shared use of temples by different groups, appropriations of urban space by religious migrants, processions, sacred places in present metropolises and architectural space and sacred metaphors.

We look forward to receiving proposals for both these sessions through the official EAUH website.

The call closes on 04 October.

Asuman Lätzer-Lasar to Deliver Paper on Religious Ancient Place Making

On Tuesday, 9 July 2019, KFG post-doctoral fellow and steering group member Asuman Lätzer-Lasar will present a paper as part of the colloquia held at the Max Weber Centre. The paper considers the concept of “place making” in antiquity and combines insights from archaeology, urban planning, history and religious studies to explore the ways in which religious space was shaped.

The choice of location of a sanctuary was mainly dependent on its sacred geomancy, recognized, for instance, through an augurium during the Roman period. However, in dense and crowded places such as a city, there were also other needs and requirements that had to be respected, such as urban topography, infrastructure and accessibility, as well as policy, economy, local legislation, or even traditions. Establishing a place for religious communication, be it a sanctuary, a grave or the erection of a dedication to a deity therefore had to be a negotiation between the religious communicator and the physical and non-physical pre-existing environment.

However, even in antiquity the establishment of places of religious communication in dense and diversely crowded cities cannot have been taken place as mere top-down processes decided only by elite, ruling actors without taking any significant and urban-related factors into account. Lätzer-Lasar argues that the decision-making process, when creating a place for religious communication, was an interplay of spaces, objects, actors, practices and imagination (, i.e. aspirations and semantics) that lead involuntarily to reciprocity.

The paper describes the term “placemaking”, which derives from the disciplines of urban planning and geography, in order to elucidate its advantages and disadvantages for the research of ancient cities and religions. The cocnept is developed into a specific form, “Religious Ancient Placemaking”. The paper is a first attempt to make the concept suitable for the discipline of archaeology and enrich it with examples from the ancient city of Rome – because it is an exceptional city that provides a plethora of material and written sources and therefore guarantees a qualitatively broad variety of phenomena – and then to apply the conceptual framework on a specific case study, which will be the Provincia Hispania.

The paper takes place from 10 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. on Tuesaday 09 July at the Max Weber Centre, Erfurt.

New edited volume: Knowledge and the Indian Ocean by Sara Keller

Sara Keller, core group member of the DFG-funded Humanities Centre in Advanced Studies “Religion and Urbanity: Reciprocal Formations”, has recently edited a volume with the title Knowledge and the Indian Ocean. Intangible Networks of Western India and Beyond (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019).

The volume examines Western India’s contributions to the spread of ideas, beliefs and other intangible ties across the Indian Ocean world. The region, particularly Gujarat and Bombay, is well-established in the Indian imaginary and in scholarship as a mercantile hub. These essays move beyond this identity to examine the region as a dynamic place of learning and a host of knowledge, tracing the flow of knowledge, aesthetic sensibilities, values, memories and genetic programs. Contributors traverse the fields of history, anthropology, agriculture, botany, medicine, sociology and more to offer path-breaking perspectives on Western India’s deep socio-cultural impact across the centuries. Western India emerges as a pivotal region in the maritime world as a transmitter of knowledge.

Map of Western India (Source: Wikipedia).

New Book: History, Space, and Place by Susanne Rau

Susanne Rau, project leader of the KFG, has recently published a book entitled History, Space, and Place (Routledge, 2019). This book offers the first comprehensive introduction to the theory and methodology of historical spatial analysis.

Spaces, too, have a history. And history always takes place in spaces. But what do historians mean when they use the word „spaces“? And how can spaces be historically investigated?

History, Space. and Place by Susanne Rau

Susanne Rau provides a survey of the history of Western concepts of space, opens up interdisciplinary approaches to the phenomenon of space in fields ranging from physics and geography to philosophy and sociology, and explains how historical spatial analysis can be methodologically and conceptually conceived and carried out in practice. The case studies presented in the book come from the fields of urban history, the history of trade, and global history including the history of cartography, but its analysis is equally relevant to other fields of inquiry.

Recently, Susanne Rau has also reviewed a book which might be of interest to readers of this blog. The review concerns the volume La bourgeoisie statutaire de Lyon et ses privilèges. Morale civique, évasion fiscale et cabarets urbains (XVIIe-XVIIIe siècles) by Olivier Zeller and can be read here.

Lived Urbanity: Religion and the City in Erfurt

Our core group experienced urbanity and religion in the lanes of Erfurt. Members of the KFG prepared short presentations at spots connected to Religion and Urbanity along a route through Erfurt. 

The walk on the 4th of June aimed to explore our theme “Religion and Urbanity: Reciprocal Formations” through the history of Erfurt. Starting from the Max-Weber-Kolleg, six stations in the city gave us the opportunity to discover city spaces and some of Erfurt’s iconic monuments through the perspective of the entangled relationship between city formation and religiosity.

A brief introduction to the city history reminded us that Erfurt had its golden age as ‘Messestadt’ (fair town) in the late medieval period: Its flourishing economy was based on the cultivation of the precious woad plant (isatis tinctoria), the major European blue dye of the time. (If you want to know more, see the temporary exhibition on the colour blue (‘Blau und Blaues. Farbbetrachtungen der besonderen Art‘) at the Museum für Thüringer Volkskunde.)  Following the increasing enthusiasm for Marian devotion (the Virgin Mary wore a blue mantle), blue, unpopular until then, was in high demand from the 12th and 13th centuries onwards. Erfurt’s fortunes rested on religion and the evolution of religious practices.

Our first station gave us the opportunity to discover the Augustinian monastery (Augustinerkloster), a well preserved architectural complex and an example of the long and dynamic religious life of the city. Erfurt not only witnessed the creation of multiple churches, chapters and convents, but it also fostered a rich theological and intellectual life. This eventually helped the foundation of the university in 1392 (our second station), and influenced the paths of great theologians, philosophers and reformers, such as Meister Eckhart and Martin Luther.


Erfurt’s Cathedral (Dom) and the Severikirche.


The Dom with its peculiar monumental platform and north side portal is an important landmark of the city. The Cathedral, alongside the church St. Severi next to it, (stations five and six on our walk) continue to dominate the city. One of the memorable chapters of Erfurt’s history was written by the Jewish community that actively contributed to the wealth of the place.

Well embedded in the core of the city fabric, the Jewish buildings testify by their presence and location to the entanglement of urban and religious life. They also bear the marks of terrible clashes that repeatedly resulted in the complete disappearance of the Jewish community. The visit of the mikwe (station three) showed us how water and religious practices were taken care of in the tense urban context. Another spot of Jewish life in Erfurt is the impressive Old Synagogue. Station four, at the ‘Kunsthalle’, originally known as the ‘Haus zum Roten Ochsen’ (‘house of the red bull’), provided an opportunity to discover lively and colourful depictions of planetary gods on a Renaissance façade freed from medieval religious codes.

The walk was an inspiring experience, evidenced by the fact that we did not lose any participants, despite the terrible heat of this Thursday noon. Since the city has many other treasures – open as well as concealed – that could be discovered in a two hour walk, we are intending to continue our exploration with another tour of other stations.  If you are interested in joining our next walk, feel free to get in touch! 

— Sara Keller

Stadt und Religion: Internationale Tagung im Augustinerkloster, Erfurt

Wie wichtig ist Religion für das Entstehen und Bestehen von Städten? Wie tragen Rituale dazu bei, dass aus Dörflern nun Städter werden? Diesen Fragen stellt sich eine internationale Konferenz, die von der Forschungsgruppe „Religion und Urbanität“ organisiert wird, welche seit Herbst 2018 am Max-Weber-Kolleg der Universität Erfurt unter der Leitung von Susanne Rau und Jörg Rüpke von der Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft gefördert wird. Die Konferenz wurde in Kooperation mit der schottischen University of St. Andrews (Christopher Smith) organisiert. Die Organisatoren haben Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftler aus ganz Europa und den USA vom 12. bis 14. Juni in das historische Augustinerkloster eingeladen um den Fragestellungen anhand von Fallbeispielen und typischen Konstellationen aus dem Mittelmeerraum von der Späten Bronzezeit bis in die Spätantike nachzugehen.

Mit Blick auf die Geschichte kann man ohne Zweifel behaupten, dass Religion ein bedeutender Faktor bei dramatischen Entwicklungen in Städten war, beispielsweise bei der Gründung von Städten über Einwanderungswellen, tiefen Umbrüchen bis hin zu sogar Völkermord. Religiöse Rituale dienten hierbei um Gemeinsamkeiten zu stiften wie auch Rückzugsräume für die Stadtbewohner zu schaffen und Abgeschiedenheit von einzelnen oder Gruppen zu ermöglichen. Umgekehrt hat das räumliche, soziale und politische Umfeld von Städten, ob klein oder groß, religiöse Ideen und Praktiken geprägt. Vorstellungen von „Göttern“ und verstorbenen „Ahnen“, vom Ort der Verehrung, von der Zugänglichkeit zu Göttern und deren Tempeln, sowie die Vorstellungen über ihre Wirkweisen, aber auch, wie man sein eigenes Leben vor den Göttern lebt, wurden dabei nachhaltig beeinflusst. Das Erfurter Forschungsprojekt „Religion und Urbanität“ widmet sich der Untersuchung dieser wechselseitigen Beeinflussungen in historischen und zeitgenössischen Kontexten und bezieht die Ergebnisse auf das Zusammenleben in Städten.

Die jetzige Tagung beschäftigt sich mit den Anfängen dieser Wechselbeziehung, als sich Städte bilden. Dafür ist der Mittelmeerraum im Übergang von der Bronze- zur Eisenzeit besonders spannend. Hier gab es starke Umgestaltungen der Umwelt, neue soziale und wirtschaftliche Beziehungen und Herrschaftsformen. Welche Bedeutung hatte Religion in solch einem kritischen Moment? Und wie wirkten sich Veränderungen auf nachfolgende Epochen aus? Bisher wurde die zunehmende Gründung von Städten nur einseitig mit dem Verweis auf Handelsplätze und Transportwege erklärt. Gerade die Verbindung von archäologischer und religionsgeschichtlicher Forschung, erklärt Dr. Asuman Lätzer-Lasar als Organisatorin, verspricht neue Aufschlüsse darüber, wie eng die Entwicklungen von Religionen und die Entstehungen von Städten tatsächlich miteinander verflochten waren. Der Tagungsort in Erfurt mit seiner eigenen reichen Geschichte ist dafür sehr passend gewählt.

 Kontakt:; Programm

Carmen González Gutiérrez in ARTE documentary

Carmen González Gutiérrez, a COFUND fellow associated with our project, recently contributed to a documentary by the French TV channel ARTE on Al-Andalus. The region was a medieval Muslim territory, which is now part of Spain. Carmen talked about the Great Mosque of Córdoba, now called Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba, one of the most important sacred spaces in Spain. The mosque was a key feature of the medieval town and influenced the whole region for centuries. Indeed, as a space steeped in history and a major tourist attraction, it still shapes the city today. 

Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba (Source: Wikipedia).

Martina Stercken to Deliver Paper on Salvific History and Urbanity

Martina Stercken, fellow of the KFG and professor of Medieval History at the University of Zurich, will deliver a paper in the KFG’s research colloquium on 28 May 2019. The paper is entitled “Embedded in salvific history. Mediating urban time and space in the Late Middle Ages and Early Modern Period”. 

Urban studies have assumed the power of salvific history to be an important element
influencing the medieval notion of towns in Europe. Discourses and artifacts reflecting on the celestial Jerusalem have been examined; scholars have investigated how much this idea has influenced town planning; and performative ways of defining the urban space as a religious area and the urban community as a sacral community have been described. The paper aims for a deeper analysis of texts, images, and maps and their ways of mediating temporal and spatial dimensions of towns between the 13th and 16th centuries, so at a time when the urban landscape was being shaped in Europe. Analysing manifold combinations of maps and historiographical texts relating to Zurich, it will explore the means to create images of the town as a spatial and historical phenomenon embedded in salvific history. It will be argued that urbanization changed the notion of the town’s embeddedness in the history of salvation, and developed multifarious ways to connect representations of space with its historical significance.

The paper will start at 10 a.m. in the Max-Weber-Kolleg, Erfurt. 

New Publications by Supriya Chaudhuri and Pralay Kanungo

We are pleased to announce the publication of several articles and chapters by members of our research group.

Supriya Chaudhuri, who recently joined us as a fellow and researches early modern literature, has recently published six articles:

‘Eyes Wide Shut: Seeing and Knowing in Othello’ and ‘What does the Slave know? A Response to Stephen Spiess’ in Blind Spots of Knowledge in Shakespeare and his World, ed. S. Mukherji (Medieval Institute Publications: De Gruyter, 2019), 75-88; 153-55

‘Indian Travel Writing’, in The Cambridge History of Travel Writing, eds. N. Das and T. Youngs (Cambridge University Press, 2019), 159-74

‘Modernist Literary Communities in 1930s Calcutta: the politics of Parichay’, in Modernist Communities across Cultures and Media, eds. C. Pollentier and S. Wilson (University Press of Florida, 2019), 177-96

‘On Making Noise: Hokkolorob and its place in Indian Student Movements’, Postcolonial Studies (2019), 44-58, DOI: https://10.1080/13688790.2019.1568168

‘Nishchindipur: The Impossibility of a Village Utopia’, Open Library of Humanities, 5(1): 25 (2019), 1–28. DOI:

Pralay Kanungo, who is also a fellow in the KFG and works on modern Indian history, has published an article entitled ‘Sangh and Sarkar: The RSS Power Centre Shifts from Nagpur to New Delhi’, in Majoritarian State. How Hindu Nationalism is Changing India (Hurst Publishers, 2019), eds. Angana P. Chatterji, Thomas Blom Hansen and Christophe Jaffrelot, 133-149.

If you are interested in the research of any of our fellows, or the KFG as a whole, feel free to get in touch!