Category: Concepts & Theory

Researching Fictional Entanglements of Religion and a Dystopian Urban Imagination

A press photograph portrays a woman wearing an old-fashioned white bonnet and a red mantle, her mouth covered by a cloth of the same colour. Her clothing is a reference to a widespread dystopian narrative initiated by Margaret Atwood’s novel The Handmaid’s Tale in 1985 that has become a global narrative thanks to numerous media adaptations, and particularly the successful Hulu TV series released from 2017 onwards…

‘Of Looseness and Depravity’ – Contextualising Magdalene Asylums

Why was the Seán Mc Dermott St Magdalene asylum – which contained also a Magdalene Laundry – located where it was? And how does this placing relate to discourses on Irish women in the city? The article offers an introduction to the historical context of the Magdalene Laundries in nineteenth and early twentieth century Ireland.

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.

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.

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.

New Glossary Entry: Mercantilisation

The definition of the term “mercantilisation” relates to the “processes of transforming social practices and objects into merchandise” (Ascher 2007, 28). Therefore, mercantilisation describes the basic transformation of human as well as non-human (inter)actions, any kind of artefacts and material residues like natural ressources and energies into services or commodities…

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.

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.

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