Category: Case Studies

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.

“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.

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.

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.

Woad and Indigo: A Story of Two Cities, Two Continents and Decolonisation

Our former fellow Shail Mayaram on the two colours blue: Having lived with indigo for some four decades in India, I delighted in Erfurt’s own blue colour, called woad. Woad is a very distinct blue, as in the napkin that graced my table of my IBZ (the University’s International Guest House) flat, a Christmas gift from my friend, the KFG Fellow, Raminder Kaur.

Subjective and Objective Urbanity?

Mariia Orobinska, a former fellow with us in Erfurt, approaches the concept of urbanity from the angle of paradigmatic analysis in linguistics. It establishes the relationship between subjective and objective aspects of urbanity, which is viewed as a unique feature of a given place and characterized through “charm”, “atmosphere”, and “aesthetics”.

The Waqf: Where Religion Meets Urbanity

Our former fellow Elyse Semerdijan on the waqf in Aleppo as spaces where religion and urbanity intersect. Recognizing pious endowments – waqf/awaqf – varied across the Islamic World. The waqf, in its most basic definition, is a registered piece of income-generating property donated to a religious foundation, a charitable cause, or to one’s heirs in perpetuity.

From a letter to an oppressive symbol – notes on >Z<

Our fellow Claudine Moulin on the metamorphoses of the letter >Z< in the current war on Ukraine. At first glance, Z is thus doubly coded in the context of the Ukraine invasion – once in a pro-Putin / pro-Russian context, once in the context of its interpretation as a symbol of Russian totalitarianism and a war of aggression in violation of international law.

Hanafi Law and Urbanization in Mughal India

Hanafi law, one of the four Sunni schools of jurisprudence, which was widely practiced in the Ottoman Empire, was also the imperial legal system of the Mughal Empire (1526-1857) in South Asia. Hanafi law governed property rights of Muslims and non-Muslims alike in the rural and the urban spheres of the Mughal Empire. Unfortunately, research on Hanafi law in Mughal India, in its theoretical and practical perspectives, remains virtually inexistant in current historiography. In this blogpost, I sketch the salient features of the relation between law and Mughal urban practices.

Emotional Urban Apes – A Different Take on Religion and Urbanity

At the core of the research group Religion and Urbanity at the Max Weber Centre in Erfurt lies a keen interest in the ascription of value to different life forms relating to city and civic life, that is urbanity. Yet such valorisations do not necessarily presuppose one’s physical presence in a city. One may live a perfectly happy life in a villa rustica at a safe distance from interactions with the ‘masses’, but nevertheless – and presumably for that very reason – attributing urbanity to one’s own lifestyle by assuring oneself that true civil life is not found within the city, but either outside it or in the outskirts of it at the Sans souci.

Going West: Migrating Personae and Construction of the Self in Rabbinic Culture

A discussion of an example chosen from the series of readings concerned with the reception of Babylonian immigrants in the domain of the Palestinian rabbis. The example is taken from the chapter in which I discuss the Palestinian rabbis’ use of the figure of the Babylonian Other in shaping their collective Self. Those examples deal with the mockery of the Babylonian newcomers. This story is a final anecdote in the tragicomic trilogy of encounters between Babylonian immigrants and the Galilee’s inhabitants.

Christmas carols

Sometimes it is the absence that makes the obvious visible. On 4 December 2023, the music stopped at some German Christmas markets, including Erfurt. The reason for this was the protest against the high licence fees for the public – and undoubtedly sales-promoting – playing of music recordings by composers and performers who had not long since died. Christmas and songs, indeed celebrating Christmas and singing, seem to belong together.  From “Silent Night” to “Dreaming of a White Christmas” and even more recent songs: it’s hard to imagine Christmas without them. And vice versa: without the festival, all these songs would lose their meaning. 

Religious Ambivalences: Podcasts I

Over the course of the upcoming weeks, we will publish recordings of the introductory comments by participants of the 2023 “Religious Ambivalences” conference, organised by Elisa Iori and Jörg Rüpke in November 2023 in Erfurt.

Search OpenEdition Search

You will be redirected to OpenEdition Search