Category: Billets

Latrines make urbanity ?!

Sara Keller, postdoc with the Religion and Urbanity group, on the link between waste infrastructures and urban lifestyles. Not just prestigious fountains in large public squares, luxurious bath houses and monumental stepwells are outstanding expressions of urbanity: latrines also can contribute to the production of an urban, cultured and sophisticated way of life.

“Garten und Religion?!” – Sonderbeitrag zum Thema Paradiesgarten

Masterstudierende der Uni Erfurt erarbeiteten gemeinsam mit Sara Keller einen Bereich in der Sonderausstellung zu “Garten und Religion?!”, die derzeit im Erfurter Gartenbaumuseum zu sehen ist. Im Seminar „Der Paradiesgarten als Idealraum“ setzten sich die Studierenden mit religiösen und philosophischen Konzepten auseinander, die von der Antike bis in die Frühe Neuzeit die Gestaltung persischer und indischer Gärten beeinflussten. Die sogenannten Charbagh (oder Chaharbagh) Gärten zeichnen sich durch eine geometrische Anordnung von Strukturen wie Einfriedungen, Wasserkanälen, Pavillons und Wegen aus, weisen aber auch eine üppige Flora auf.

“Thrill” and Intimidation by Means of Light and Darkness in the Pre-Modern Era – The Alter Einlass (Old Entrance) in Augsburg

Our former fellow Vera Henkelmann on the Old Entrance in Augsburg, once famous for its engineering. The power of the council and the city of Augsburg was thus demonstrated here by the ability to restrict sight, especially light, and thus to physically intimidate those entering, even to expose them to the demonic nature of darkness and gloom.

Some highlights from our blog

Since 2018 we have been publishing articles, reviews, reports and personal reflections on a variety of topics. In most cases they are tied in one way or an other to one of our research areas: South Asia, especially India and Pakistan, the Mediterranean from Antiquity until today, and Europe, especially in the Medieval and Early Modern period. We have picked some of our favourite entried by fellows and core group members of the Religion and Urbanity group in Erfurt.

Frischer Wind in alten Gassen: Zweitausend Jahre Stadtplanung

Eine Zeitreise in die Antike, das erste Jahrtausend v. Chr., und eine Reise aus Mitteleuropa in die Gegenden, in denen man zu schreiben verstand. Erst mit Hilfe der Schrift gelang es Expertinnen und Experten das flüchtige Element Wind so dauerhaft in Gedankengebäuden einzufangen, dass wir uns heute noch damit auseinandersetzen können.

City of Words

Review by Supriya Chaudhuri. In February last year I was in Hampi, Karnataka, once the sacral core of the city of Vijayanagara, capital of India’s last great Hindu empire. Sitting in the shadow of the Virupaksha temple, I read Salman Rushdie’s fifteenth novel, Victory City, a magical, intricate history of the foundation and destruction of the city of Vijayanagara, or Bisnaga, as it was called by the Portuguese traveller Domingo Paes.

Archäologie aus der Ferne: Religion und Urbanität im spätantiken Nordsyrien

von Verena Fugger. Wenn es um das Thema „Archäologie in Syrien“ geht, werden den meisten LeserInnen dieses Blog-Beitrags vermutlich noch die durch zahlreiche Medienkanäle verbreiteten Bilder der Sprengung des Beltempels in Palmyra durch Gruppen der Terrormiliz Islamischer Staat am 31. August 2015 lebendig in Erinnerung sein. Abgesehen von der unfassbaren humanitären Katastrophe, die dieser Krieg über die Bevölkerung brachte, gehörten die Zerstörung und Plünderung archäologischer Fundstätten, historischer Altstädte wie jener von Aleppo und musealer Exponate zu den größten Gräueltaten des Terrorregimes. Unwiederbringlich verloren sind zahllose Kulturgüter, die – wenn sie nicht durch direkte Kriegshandlungen oder Vandalismus zerstört worden sind – ihren Weg aus den örtlichen Museen in den illegalen Kunsthandel und von dort mittlerweile auch nach Deutschland gefunden haben.

Animals in/and the City (City Walk 12)

On the 17th of April, we went on our twelfth city walk, which revolved around animals in the city and the animal turn. At three stops in the city of Erfurt we discussed different aspects of how animals are recognisable in the mutual formation of religion and urbanity. Frédéric Vandenberghe, Jörg Rüpke, Aileen Becker, and Heinrich Lang gave short presentations at the Natural History Museum on the Animal Turn in general and animals adapting to urban lifestyles; the St. Crucis Church on animals in biblical stories and displaying them in religious architecture, and finally at the Krämerbrücke (merchants bridge) on animals as resources in urban life.

Reclaiming Karbala: Nation, Islam and Literature of the Bengali Muslims (Routledge, 2023)

The new book by Epsita Halder, former fellow of the ‘Religion and Urbanity’ group, is titled ‘Reclaiming Karbala: Nation, Islam and Literature of the Bengali Muslims’. It was published in 2023 and studies the emergence and formation of a viable Muslim identity in Bengal over the late-19th century through the 1940s. Beginning with an explanation of significance of the martyrdom of Hazrat Muhammad’s grandson Husayn in the battle of Karbala (680 CE) for the Muslims, this book explores how this particular historical episode was recurrently reclaimed and reinterpreted by the Bangla-speaking ulama and Muslim literati to define what it meant to be Muslim in colonial Bengal.

Urban and religious change: A comparative perspective

Jörg Rüpke. Religious change and changes of urbanity (summarizing urban practices and reflexive urban imaginations) must be analysed in their mutual dependency to give better accounts of both, urban history and religious history. Many crucial developments in local and trans-local religion and religions need to be reviewed with regard to their specifically urban conditionality. At the same time, such urban conditions and the very discourses and practices that defined conditions as urban have not been “independent variables” for religious change but are themselves in part the outcome of religious practices and agents.

Digging, uncovering, unearthing: Activist and academic approaches to Irish Magdalene Laundries

How did aspects of gender, faith and class interplay in Ireland’s Magdalen Laundries? And which position do they occupy in Irish discourse today? The article charts both activist and academic approaches to the Magdalen Laundries in the past decades, and how aspects of gender, faith and class interplayed in them.

Call for Applications: Fellowships 2025-2026

The Centre for Advanced Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences/ Kolleg-Forschungsgruppe “Religion and Urbanity: Reciprocal Formations“ currently invites applications for research fellowships (3-6 months) in the period of 01.04.2025 to 30.09.2026.

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