Category: Europe

Articles on European case studies from late Antiquity until today.

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”.

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.

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. 

Buddhismus und die vietnamesische Diaspora in Erfurt

Die Errichtung eines Tempels in Gispersleben läutet eine neue Ära für das interkulturelle Zusammenleben in Erfurt ein. Dieses neue Gotteshaus nahmen wir als Anlass, uns mit dem vietnamesisch-buddhistischen Leben in Erfurt genauer zu beschäftigen. Es ist erst der dritte sichtbare Tempel in den neuen deutschen Bundesländern.

Royal Funerals and Saints’ Topography in Merovingian Paris

This case study focuses on the question of how Paris acquired metropolitan significance as early as the 6th and 7th centuries through the presence of rulers and important saints, although the city did not historically occupy a prominent position among the cities of Gaul and was hardly larger than an unfortified suburb of Rome or Constantinople in the Merovingian period. In these two centuries, a close topographical and symbolic connection of residence, royal burial and veneration of saints emerged, which is constitutive for the dynamic development of Paris throughout the Middle Ages…

Erfurt’s Blue – Erfurter Blau

During the late Middle Ages, Erfurt was a prosperous city with a dynamic trade center, and home to one of the first universities in Europe. While its success was a result of many factors, including its geographical location, few people are aware that the colour blue had a significant impact on the development of the city.

Urban Monasticism Then and Now

Harry O. Maier discusses Mateusz Fafinski and Jakob Riemenscheider’s book, Monasticism and the City in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages. The book provides readers with a comprehensive exploration of ancient monastic and urban sites and their inhabitants, akin to a Lonely Planet travel guide. The authors examine monasticism from five aspects: as a genre, within and as cities, with respect to monks and nuns in urban settings, in terms of monastic learning, and as a phenomenon in Afroeurasia.

Shifting Paradigms in Black Death Chronologies

After decades of doubt about the nature of the disease that caused the Black Death, the identification in 2011 of Yersinia pestis in a 14th-century London cemetery – and, most importantly, the revelation of its genetic proximity to current forms of the bacterium – closed that (sometimes harsh) debate, and demonstrated beyond all doubt the main role of paleogenomics in the future studies of historical epidemics, especially plague. However, the role of historians has not diminished with the arrival of this new protagonist in the field of disease history. On the contrary, the need for on-going multidisciplinary dialogue has become undeniable and mandatory, if the ultimate goal is effectively to advance knowledge about historical epidemic phenomena…

Christmas and Christmas Markets

The basic theological idea of the Christian Christmas is the incarnation of God, the “birthday of the Lord”, as it has been called since the fourth century AD, natalis domini. What the Latin churches celebrate on 25 December, the Eastern churches associate with 6 January, Epiphany, the “Epiphany of the Lord”. You have to delve deep into the philosophy and mythology…

Open-Air Preaching and a Muslim Festival: Religious Rituals, Violence, and Urban Space in mid-19th Century Belfast and early-20th Century Jerusalem

Conflicts between different religious groups were a frequent occurrence in cities of the British Empire, particularly from the Victorian era to the interwar period. The imperial agents had a paternalist and orientalist perspective on these episodes of communal violence and assessed them as uncivilized manifestations of religious fanaticism…

Stadt macht Kirche macht Stadt: St. Marien im thüringischen Mühlhausen

Unweit des Nationalparks Hainich gelegen, lädt das thüringische Mühlhausen mit seinen zahlreichen gotischen Kirchen ein. Von diesen ist die Marienkirche mitten im Herzen der Stadt die größte und wird auch im übrigen Thüringen nur vom Erfurter Dom an Größe übertroffen. Was aber hat eine Kirche mit Urbanität zu tun?

Map of Paris in Early Middle ages

The Same Spaces Tell Different Religious Stories. Several Considerations on Cospatiality in Paris around 1300

The following considerations have arisen in the context of research into the religious and social contexts of religious writing around 1300. The search for “co-spatiality,” for “equality in space”, has its roots in socio-religious conflicts in the city of Paris, which in the first two decades of the fourteenth century led to the use of state and ecclesiastical power, including force and violence, by the Inquisition…

Kreuzritter auf dem Fußballplatz? Ein Erfurter Graffito

Ganz in der Nähe des Max-Weber-Kollegs befindet sich ein monumentales Graffiti an einer Hauswand. Es handelt sich um von Fußballfans gestaltete oder möglicherweise sogar von Sportfunktionären in Auftrag gegebene Kunst. Um Fußball zu verherrlichen, ruft das Graffiti unterschiedliche kulturelle Vorstellungen auf. Auf dem Weg zur Arbeit ist es morgens möglich, über „Religion und Urbanität“ zu stolpern. Was hat dieses Graffiti mit der Forschungsgruppe zu tun?

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