2008: 5th International Symposium on Medieval and Early Modern Culture

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5th International Symposium on Medieval and Early Modern Culture, University of Arizona, Tucson

Urban Space: The Experience of Urban Life in the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Age

The 6th International Symposium

University of Arizona, Tucson

May 1-4, 2008


Dr. Albrecht Classen
University Distinguished Professor

Deadline for submission of abstracts: January 31, 2008, but feel free to send an inquiry even after that date, to aclassen@u.arizona.edu

Currently the program (see above) is full, but if you are interested in contributing to a planned volume, please contact me.

Location of Symposium: Conference Room of Special Collections, University of Arizona Library

Historians have studied the emergence of medieval city life for a long time, a process of greatest interest for many different specialists, and by now reflected in whole libraries of relevant publications. Economic, military, political, religious, and art-historical dimensions of town and city have been examined in great detail, but we still do not know enough about the basic experience the new urban space offered for people in the Middle Ages and the early modern age. What did it mean to be exposed to so many neighbors, colleagues, strangers, travelers, administrators, craftsmen, maids, wives, female workers and artists, etc. within the limited space of an enwalled city? How did the individual experience power represented by the city authorities, by the guild, church groups, gender orientation, institutions, all located within the city walls? Linguistically, we also face numerous difficulties because in English we distinguish between ‘town’ and ‘city,’ whereas in German, for instance, the term ‘Stadt’ comprises all urban settlements, which might also reflect the considerable differences in urban growth in various European regions. What concepts of urban life can we find in literary and art-historical documents? How did the urban context shape religious experiences? How did life within a walled settlement–town or city–change the burghers’ attitudes toward their rulers, and toward the Church? What were the images of ideal cities, and when did they emerge first? How did writers and painters project cities in the exotic East, in contrast to their own experiences back home? To what extent did life within an urban context facilitate contacts with foreign worlds, since merchants and medical doctors, among others, were the primary voyagers abroad, establishing numerous contacts with people of different tongues, religion, and culture?
Moreover, what were the concept of imaginary cities in the Middle Ages, such as spiritual cities, allegorical cities, etc.?

Building on a rich corpus of previous research, this interdisciplinary symposium will address a host of new questions, shedding new light on one of the most complex cultural-historical phenomena since at least the eleventh century.

This is a self-sustaining academic symposium. Participants are expected to secure travel funds and other costs.

Selected papers will be accepted for publication in a volume, to be included in the series “Fundamentals of Medieval and Early Modern Culture,” ed. Albrecht Classen and Marilyn Sandidge (Berlin and New York: de Gruyter). Each contributor to the volume will receive a free copy.

Anyone interested in joining the symposium as part of the audience, please contact the organizer. Student participation will be most welcome.

Languages accepted at the symposium: English, French, German, and Spanish. Non-English papers must be accompanied by a good English summary available as a hand-out. Abstracts of all papers will be posted well ahead of the symposium.

Hotel Accommodations: I have made a special arrangement with Riverpark Inn (formerly Pueblo Inn),  $68.95/night (plus tax [8.1%] plus $1).  Transportation to and from the symposium (at the University of Arizona Library, Special Collections), will be provided.  For international guests, please fax your reservations to: 011- 520-239-2329

For a downtown map, click on map

For a campus map, click on campus

Transportation from the airport: There are three options:

1. Bus no. 6 to downtown ($1), Ronstadt Bus Depot, from there you walk west on Congress to Granada, turn left (south) to the I-10, through the tunnel, and the hotel is right there. Or you can call the hotel at 239-2300.

For bus no. 6 (really easy and very cheap), see their schedule: http://www.suntran.com/pdf/routes/Rt_6_Win_07.pdf). Once you have reached Ronstadt downtown (end station), follow these instructions:

Free Green line (shuttle bus) starts just north of  Ronstadt Transit Station (A) and goes to stop #3 (Greyhound bus depot) on Central Avenue, just east of the I-10 elevated freeway.  Walk south to Clark St.then west underneath I-10 to the Riverpark Inn.

Green line runs 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Green line leaves Ronstadt at :10, :30, :50 minutes after the hour (i.e. 9:10, 9:30, 9:50 a.m.)

Map route:


2. Take the airport shuttle (one way: $21; round trip: $40), Stagecoach (http://www.azstagecoach.com).
Reservation Information 520-889-1000 • reservations@azstagecoach.com.

3.regular taxi (ca. $30-35. one way).

All prices subject to change.

Support from the Dean of Humanities, University of Arizona, UAMARRC (University of Arizona Medieval, Renaissance, and Reformation Committee), GEMS (Group for Early Modern Studies at the University of Arizona), the University of Arizona Library, Special Collections, and the Depts. of German Studies, Spanish and Portuguese, Anthropology, Psychology, Geography and Regional Development and of Near Eastern Studies

is gratefully recognized.