The German Historical Institute in Rome, in cooperation with the German Society for Urban History (GSU) and the Associazione Italiana di Storia Urbana (AISU), will organize a
German‐Italian conference in
May 2015 at the GHI in Rome,
devoted to the exchange about the ‘urban experience’ in both countries in the 1970s.
The 1970s have been increasingly discussed within German and international Contemporary History as a period of ‘structural rupture’, as caesura “after the boom years” (Doering‐Manteuffel/ Raphael). The oil crises of 1973 and 1979 as well as the thus‐induced global economic dislocations and structural shifts mark the end of full employment and demonstrate, that the notion of governing the capitalist economic cycle via Keynesian global control was no longer feasible.
The 1970s were, at the same time, a decade, in which massive challenges for state power by terrorist organizations can be observed, but also a new level of political militancy at demonstrations, new actions such as house squatting or occupation of building sites developed. The upsurge of a radicalizing working class movement and the politicization of the student leftist movement coalesced particularly in the urban space in multiple varieties. In Italy, the political and social mobilization coincided with the end of the accelerated growth of big cities and of a general wave of urbanization. These processes problematized capitalist urban development and land use in hitherto unknown intensity. In the 1970s also a fundamental shift of paradigms in central parameters of urban renewal occurred: Supported by a re‐evaluation of historic buildings a new interest in ‘old town’ districts emerged, which turned these quarters over the medium term into highly desired and increasingly gentrified neighborhoods.
The conference, conducted in English, aims to develop the exchange between German and Italian historians, particularly urban historians, on the highly charged 1970s, controversial in both Italy and Germany. Over the last two decades this exchange has been developing multilaterally at a variety of events such as the EAUH, the ESEH or more thematically focused events such as the Round‐Tables for Environmental History. A targeted bilateral exchange between urban historians and urbanists as well as of scholars of contemporary history from both countries on urban problems in the 20th century has not taken place so far. Also at the GHI Rome, in accordance with the history of the Institute, the exchange on aspects of comparative and shared history has been central.
We invite paper submissions for the following sessions:
‐ “The 1970s – a Period of Crisis also in/for the Cities?”
In comparative perspective the actual state for cities and perceptions about the situation of cities by relevant actors should be reflected and (potentially competing) action strategies to overcome the crisis should be highlighted. Papers might refer to politicians, experts such as urbanists and town planners, as well to a wider public sphere where the “urban crisis” could be dealt with as a quintessential expression of profound social transformations.
‐ “The City as a Battlefield”
Submissions should reflect, how cities in both countries became arenas for social conflicts of different sorts (tenants’ initiatives, tenant strikes, house squatting, the formation of alternative planning and development concepts in neighborhood initiatives). Papers could also address the attempts by urban administrations to pacify these protests by a variety of measures. Finally, the aspect how and with which consequences the space and territory of cities became the arena of violent actions could be raised.
‐ “The City as a Building Site and as Habitat”
The shift of paradigms in practices of urban renewal as well as in the attitudes of a larger part of urbanites proceeded in astonishingly short periods of time and produced massive social conflicts. Aspects to be reflected in this session include the increasing presence of migrants, changes in the understanding of public spaces as well as green spaces in cities and new modes of urban living.
Submissions for papers should address central issues of one of these sessions and include, if possible, a comparative dimension.
Submissions should include
‐ Title and abstract in English of not more than 1000 characters, highlighting the general thrust of the argument and indicating the case studies analyzed.
‐ Short CV of the submitter, including details on current affiliation, relevant publications etc.
Please send your submission via email to: cities70@dhi‐roma.it by September 14th 2014. We will inform you about acceptance by mid‐October.