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EAUH Conference 2018


Session M19 - Cities – Regions – Hinterlands in the early modern and modern era

Coordinators: Sabine Barles (, Martin Knoll (, Dieter Schott (

Read Session abstractCities – Regions – Hinterlands in the early modern and modern era

Before the era of globalized hinterlands cities usually entertained close relationships of various kinds and qualities with their – adjoining or non-contiguous - hinterlands from which they drew their provisions to maintain their urban metabolism in terms of energy, food and feed and particularly bulky raw materials. Also semi-finished products and trade goods as foundation of urban gateway functions could be part of the story. Such hinterlands could be structured around transport corridors such as river systems, shipping routes or railway lines. But also issues of political domination, powers transferred from state government to control and monopolize resources in a given area or ownership of land and pertaining resources could be instrumental in making and keeping hinterlands. On the other hand, viewed from the perspective of the towns and villages in the hinterland, relations to the ‘central’ city – allusions to the Christaller concept are not by chance here – could be constituted from a variety of reasons and motives, looking for a market for agricultural surplus, a centre for education, entertainment, legal services or religious rituals and worship.
The session (Main session) aims to reflect on the relations between (dominant) cities and their hinterlands, the factors which let cities and their hinterlands appear as a ‘region’ with a distinct social ecology and with a distinct economic, social and cultural profile. Particular emphasis is to be given to the ‘making’ and ‘unmaking’ of regions, to conflicts between cities claiming the same or overlapping hinterland, to strategies from both the central city perspective to control and dominate hinterlands and from the extra-urban region to play off potentially competing cities against each other. The notion of hinterland often refers to the supply side of urban metabolism, and could also be extended to its “discharge” side, taking into account these areas that are affected by urban emissions (landfills, etc) and their relationships with the city. Finally, the blurring and re-negotiation of city-hinterland-relations under the auspices of fossil fueled, industrialized and globalized economies and transitions in the energy base of societies have to be analyzed.
We imagine as period of study the early modern and modern era. We will particularly welcome proposals with a comparative or theoretical focus.

Prof. Sabine Barles, Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne, 191 rue Saint-Jacques, F-75005 Paris,
Prof. Martin Knoll, University of Salzburg, History Department, Rudolfskai 42, A-5020 Salzburg,
Prof. Dieter Schott, TU Darmstadt, History Department, Dolivostr. 15, D-64293 Darmstadt,
Keywords: regions; hinterlands; urban metabolism;

Saturday 1st September 2018
  Room 04 09.30-11.00, 11.30-13.00



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