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

This session will focus on the 'quotidian mechanics' of mobility in early modern Europe: how migration and travel were actually practiced, experienced and represented in this period. In particular, papers will examine how cities north and south of the Alps and in the Alpine region acted as key 'contact zones' where people on the move interacted with locals, service providers and each other.

Between c.1450-1650, Europeans became more mobile and connected than ever before. The enhancement of communication systems (road/river networks, print culture, postal services), the growth of cities, the spread of 'Renaissance' culture and global trade expansion transformed people's sense of place. At the same time, religious and political divisions prompted growing efforts to channel or control spatial movements.

There is still a great deal to learn about the ‘quotidian mechanics’ – practices, and physical and material experiences – of mobility across the social scale, as well as their wider repercussions.

This session will examine urban communities along the Continent’s principal north-south arteries – connecting Italy and the German lands via the Alpine passes. These were places of especially heavy traffic for artisans and labourers seeking training and jobs; soldiers on commission; pilgrims in transit to Rome and the Holy Land; peddlers offering their wares; merchants trading goods; refugees fleeing conflict or persecution; diplomats, bureaucrats and couriers; vagrants; as well as early leisure travellers seeking pleasure or edification.

We encourage the submission of abstracts that consider:

  • the development and function of ‘geographies of transit and arrival’ in major hubs as well as smaller towns in the Alpine region (broadly defined);
  • the reception of different kinds of arrivals;
  • the development and communication of policies and practices concerning mobility;
  • associated spatial dimensions and architectural interventions;
  • the expectations, practices and multisensory experiences of people on the move at various stages of their journeys

  • Spokesperson: Rosa Salzberg, University of Warwick
  • Co-organizer(s): Beat Kümin, University of Warwick | Fabrizio  Nevola, University of Exeter
  • Keywords: Migration | Mobility | Cities
  • Time period: Early modern period
  • Topic(s): Social | Architecture and urbanism
  • Study area: Europe