(Urbanization): Session at the European Association for Urban History Conference: Cities in Motion 2020

This roundtable investigates European urban history journals and their articles to explore research trends, regional and national preferences for methods, paradigms and interdisciplinary research. We start with an analysis of the most important journals in the field, after which a discussion with the editors of these journals will follow to discuss the results and look at the future.

It is hardly surprising to state that urban history has been highly successful in the past 25 years. The discipline outgrew its marginal position as a niche in the more traditional fields of social, economic, political and cultural history. Although in some regions the history of cities has traditionally had its own dynamics, most notably so in Belgium where the shadow of Henri Pirenne threw urban history into the mainstream of historical research, in other regions this was much less the case and urban history led for a long time a marginal position in national historiographic traditions. But since the 1980s all this changed. With more than half of the world population living in cities, urban history has almost everywhere entered into that mainstream. The current success of conferences like the EAUH and of journals like Urban History gives the field, moreover, a distinctively proper identity, in which interdisciplinary, cross-boundary approaches are thriving. But at the same time, the huge success of the historical analysis of cities and urban systems has also a downside. It has to a large extent fragmented research paradigms and has made communication between the various disciplines operating within the field of urban history not easier. The difficulty of linking urban historical research to urban theory and the equally thriving field of urban studies is symptomatic. In this round table we will ask whether urban history in Europe is indeed a field in which particular research trends, paradigmatic and methodological approaches are shared throughout the continent, or whether national and regional traditions remain important. The round table will start with a detailed analysis of how the field has developed, bringing forward, also statistically, the trends in the leading European journals for urban history (Urban History, Revue d’Histoire urbaine, Storia e Città, Stadsgeschiedenis, …) and what this says about European, regional and national thematic and paradigmatic interests, organization of the field, levels of interdisciplinary collaboration, and methodological approaches. A discussion involving some of the editors of the important journals in the field will follow, in order to discuss these trends and look also at the future.

  • Spokesperson: Jeroen Puttevils, University of Antwerp
  • Co-organizer(s): Roey Sweet, University of Leicester | Rosa  Tamborrino, Politecnico di Torino | Peter Stabel, University of Antwerp
  • Keywords: Europe | Journals of urban history | Comparative
  • Time period: All periods
  • Topic(s): Other
  • Study area: More than one continent