EAUH Conference 2018


Session SS08. Standing Out, Getting in, Staying in. Being foreign in Cities, 13th-18th Centuries

Coordinators: Francesco Guidi Bruscoli (, James Nelson Novoa (

The formation and development of foreign communities abroad is a classic theme of institutional, economic and social history. Yet, despite the many studies on the subject, there is often a sense of haziness in the way a community of foreigners is defined and finds its own place in the city of destination. Moreover, recent projects on migration have continued to raise attention to the theme and have shown that the subject still deserves attention and further research, with comparative studies to be inserted an ever-expanding global context. When they relocated to another city, foreigners at times grouped around a religious confraternity, around a lay consulate, each with or without their own statutes: in other words, foreign communities could present different degrees of organisation or institutionalisation and this in turn could affect the way they related to the local urban context.
Often these groups of individuals congregated around the same area of the city and at times built their own religious or confessional structures based on national or ethnic lines. In this way, they had a visible impact in terms of town planning and development. However, their impact on the host city could also be less “visible” but not less relevant from the social and cultural point of view, but also from the institutional and legal point of view, as new regulations were often put in place in order to favour (or limit) their inclusion in the local community.

The session organisers encourage contributions from scholars of different disciplines (including social historians, economic historians, architecture historians, legal historians and cultural historians) concerning “nations” abroad in a wide geographical (European, Asia, African or American) and chronological (13th-18th centuries) context. Interdisciplinary and comparative papers are particularly welcome, but we also accept specific case studies relating to (but not necessarily limited to) the following issues:
- the role of institutions and the legal framework concerning the foreign settlements
- the representation of the city. How were foreigners visually represented or described in words the host city?
- the impact of the presence of foreigners on urban planning
- religious practices, between clash and assimilation
- the cultural impact of foreign dwellers on discursive practices

The session organisers accept proposal both in English and in French.
Keywords: migration; foreigners; community