Call for Papers: “Urban Networks”, The Second Conference on Baltic Urban History Tallinn, 9-10 October 2015.
Intensity and interaction of various networks seem to be one of the essential characteristics of urbanity. In regard to the analysis of urban history, the references to networks could offer a new perspective, as the term “network” characterises a structure with nodes and connections between them. With regard to the Actor-Network-Theory, the nodes are not treated as static elements but as agents, which establish and transform networks through their actions. Thus, processes and interactions can be described quite efficiently. For research in urban history, this approach promises to be fruitful in many respects. On a smaller scale, one is faced with various and dynamic physical and mental networks in cities, e.g. streets, public transportation and sewage, personal and family ties, professional and associational connections, political establishment and underground scene. Exchange provided by these networks is necessary for incentive to architectural, social, cultural, religious, and of course political developments in the Middle Ages as well as in the present time. It can be observed that these interchanges could be provoked from global, regional, or local processes and structures.
The conference aims to discuss the role of networks in the urban history of the Baltic countries in different historical periods. Our special interest is the view from below, i.e.the influence of grass root networks on the general picture. We are interested both in successful urban developments as well as in failures or de-urbanisation. It will be important to ascertain what kind of general trends in European urban history are relevant for the Baltic cities and where one can speak of distinctive local developments. Thus, our conference aims to focus on Baltic history, but conscious of the depending processes, we also invite papers dealing with topics located outside of the Baltic States, which show the regional connections or are important in regard to methodological approaches. Although the primary focus lies on history, the conference is open for specialists of various disciplines dealing with urban development in the past and present (historians of art and architecture, archaeologists, demographers, sociologists, etc.).
Regular meetings of specialists in Baltic urban history aim to enhance the cooperation of scholars active in the related fields of research. The conference in Tallinn is the second one in the series established in Riga on 11-12 October 2012.
The working languages of the conference are English and German.
The conference is organized jointly by the Tallinn City Archives, the Institute of History of Tallinn University, the Faculty of History of the University of Latvia, the Institute of Baltic Region History and Archaeology of Klaipėda University and the Herder Institute in Marburg. The organizers will cover the costs of accommodation for the participants (from 8 to 11 Oct), a small number of travel grants will also be available.