Tag Archives: transnational urban history


Simulizi Mijini/Urban Narratives is an interdisciplinary inquiry into urban heritage in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Berlin, Germany. Through artist residencies, student exchanges and discursive events, the project seeks to develop a more inclusive approach to urban heritage that embraces multiple voices and supports diverse readings of urban environments from a ‘bottom-up’ perspective. For more information about the project and the programme of events, which have already included two summer schools, 10 artist residencies and a one-day symposium in Dar es Salaam, please visit our website:

We now announce a call for abstracts for a two-day international conference at the Technical University Berlin from 16-17 March 2017, which, together with a coinciding exhibition at ZK/U, will culminate the project.

For the Berlin conference we invite contributions that focus on heritage activism in diverse geographical and cultural contexts. Abstracts that address the political ramifications of urban heritage, particularly in postcolonial environments, are particularly welcome. We wish to engage the grassroots movements around the world that are demanding a more inclusive approach to heritage, redefining how places in the built environment are valued and preserved. In addition we will question the role of research and scholarship as well as other forms of political, cultural and arts practice in supporting heritage movements. Rather than convening an academic event, we will create a multidisciplinary platform for activists, scholars, artists, cultural producers, students and local residents to debate urban heritage, present innovative approaches and put forward inclusive solutions.

Abstracts are invited that address case studies in urban heritage activism in relation to the following topics:

(curating urban heritage)

How can information about urban heritage be gathered in diverse urban contexts at a community level? What are appropriate methods and tools for data collection? What role does oral history play? How can the data be archived in an open, accessible and transformable way? What strategies for curating urban heritage ‘from below’ have been successfully tried and tested?

(media and protest)

What can new technologies, such as augmented reality or virtual reality, offer to urban heritage research, curation and communication? What effects have social media had on documenting and archiving urban heritage? How have they affected protest movements? How can technologies be employed to hack or amend existing official heritage narratives?

(activating urban heritage)

Building on the Faro Convention, how can awareness be raised about urban heritage as a common cultural good and human right? What tactics can be used to increase public consciousness and foster local participation in the heritage discourse? How do we begin to (re)determine what is preserved and what is recognised as ‘historically relevant’ at a community level, thereby including diverse, minority and forgotten, ignored, or silenced voices?

(performing and preserving)

How can urban heritage be communicated to a wider audience effectively? How can its significance be understood and supported beyond the community level? What artistic, performative and curatorial strategies have been developed to convey the significance of certain places and practices within communities and neighbourhoods? How can these be used to protect and support their continued presence?  

Submissions and Deadline
Please submit a 300 word abstract including contact details and a brief CV to by 15 December 2016.

Travel Bursaries
A limited number of travel bursaries will be available towards covering the costs of traveling to Berlin.

Book Publication
A selection of contributions will be included in a book publication, forthcoming in 2017. Authors interested in contributing to the book will be expected to submit a 1500 word synopsis of their conference presentation by 15 February 2017.

Dar es Salaam Symposium
The Berlin conference picks up on issues raised at the Reconfiguring Heritage from Below symposium held in Dar es Salaam in April 2016. There speakers from Tanzania, Zanzibar, Kenya, South Africa, Turkey, Belgium and the UK presented heritage case studies and projects from postcolonial contexts.

As an interdisciplinary, transnational programme, we encourage contributions from all horizons to apply. We seek to increase the number of women, people with disabilities and non-Western contributors in those areas where they are underrepresented and therefore explicitly encourage them to apply.

This project is funded by the TURN Fund of the German Federal Cultural Foundation.



EAUH Helsinki 2016

European Association for Urban History 2016 Conference: 

Reinterpreting Cities

24-27 August 2016, Helsinki, Finland



Deadline: 31 October 2015


M19. Settler Cities: A Useful Concept to Reinterpret Transnational Urban History?

In the opening lines of his massive Replenishing the Earth: The Settler Revolution and the Rise of the Anglo World, 1783-1939, James Bellich presents a challenge to historians eager to reinterpret cities in a transnational framework: do cities like Chicago and Melbourne on opposite sides of the planet share characteristics by virtue of their foundation and political rule by white settlers intent on dwelling permanently upon lands forcibly taken from their indigenous inhabitants?
This panel will explore this question by calling upon scholars to reflect on the concept of “Settler Cities.” What defines such a city? Are their clear boundaries, or does the definition involve a subtle degrees of separation form the broader category of colonial city? Are there broad commonalities in the histories of these cities that merit singling them for scrutiny as a group? Are they best seen as a special subset of colonial cities or is there a way in which they expand or transcend that long-used concept? Are there webs of connections between these cities and between them and the imperial metropoles that make this concept especially useful as a subset of the new subfield of transnational urban history? What if we go beyond Bellich’s focus on the “Anglo World,” and consider Algiers, Elizabethvillle/Lubumbashi, Windhoek, Batavia, Jerusalem, and even Mexico City or Rio de Janeiro in the same universe as Cape Town, Chicago, Vancouver, San Francisco, Belfast, and Sydney? Are there non-western settler cities? Why did the settlers in some cities abandon their project of settlement while others stay, helping to cause some of the most intractable conflicts on earth?
Participants should not only bring their research on individual settler cities to the table, but also contemplate several themes underlying the concept of settler cities: especially dense connections and flows between these cities and between them and metropolitan hubs; the diversity of flows between these cities, including not only people, money, ideas, and urban practices, but also jurisprudential systems, organizational forms, urban economic structures, group identities, and political cultures; especially complex forms of urban politics that includes conflicts between settlers, between settlers and metropolitan governments as well as with indigenous people; real estate practices involving people who plan to invest in urban land for future generations unlike the more transient European populations of non-settler colonial cities; and interventions in urban spatial politics that include especially complex forms of segregation and law-of-conquest authoritarianism.

colonial cities, segregation, settler colonies, transnational urban history, urban politcs


Main session

Session organisers:
Carl Nightingale, University at Buffalo SUNY, United States of America
Vivian Bickford-Smith, University of Cape Town, South-Africa
Johan Lagae, University of Gent, Belgium