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EAUH Conference 2018

Sessions

Session M01. Cities in Resilience in the Graeco-Roman World (13th cent. B.C. - 4th cent. A.D.)

Coordinators: Jonathan Hall (jhall@uchicago.edu), Ioannis Xydopoulos (ixydopou@hist.auth.gr)

The term “resilience” is used in academic discourse worldwide in relation to the durability of city-states and nation-states from antiquity until the present day. Urban resilience, in particular, defines the capacity of individuals and communities to survive and proceed with their lives no matter what kinds of catastrophes (natural or not) and violence they experience. In the context of European history, urban resilience can be met frequently, thus offering us the chance to follow a city’s ‘continuity’ in time and space. Cities that have played a very important role in their micro- and macro-regions and were defined geographically, politically, culturally, or historically have survived various disasters, caused either by nature or wars.
We propose to explore the role of cities within their regions in the longue durée: to give a few examples, the session could focus on Mycenae after the Late Bronze Age collapse; Athens after the Persian invasion of 480 B.C.; Pella after the Roman victory of 167 B.C.; Thessaloniki after the Ottoman conquest (1430 A.D.). Resilience of these communities/cities is proof of how they have created their future based on the relationship with the past, which is the main question put in this session. Closely connected with the above question are issues of how communities maintain their population’s interest in their cities as lived space. How do these operate with the notion of attachment to – and identity with – a specific place? How do they employ memory and the significance of the city’s role in history? And how do institutions construct a collective, “monumental time” in the face of different conceptions of temporality on the part of the individuals who constitute cities?
The perspective of various scales of spatialized collective identities offers the opportunity to revisit the issue of urban resilience in an interdisciplinary debate. We would like to open this panel up to all the periods mentioned above, but preference will be given to contributions focusing on Antiquity (up to the 4th cent. A.D.).

Key issues will be the following:

· How is the relationship between city/town and memory represented in various ways?
· How does “the memory aspect” affect policy-making in the city (planning, cultural strategies)?
· What is the relationship of modern historiography to urban resilience in the period under consideration?
· What are the theoretical and methodological problems involved in studying urban history and resilience?
Keywords: survival; heritage; identity; memory; continuity