(Ports): Session at the European Association for Urban History Conference: Cities in Motion 2020
As gateways to their hinterlands, handling the departing and incoming ships sailing on routes to worlds beyond, port cities were key players in the regulation of flows in and out of continental territories. This session aims to look at the representation of the management of these fluxes within the European port city, focussing in particular on goods and trade, visitors, and narratives.
As gateways to their hinterlands, handling the departing and incoming ships sailing on routes to worlds beyond, port cities were key players in the regulation of flows in and out of continental territories. In the European context, the channelling of goods, the expansion of trade and the economic growth that accompanied the opening of long distance sea routes in the 15th and 16th centuries, was paralleled by the development of new modes of representation, landscape and seascapes, the celebration of new narratives in history painting, the building of monuments and architectural structures. Also, the colonial outposts established in the early modern and modern age brought a range of extraneous objects, people, and stories, to the docks of European shores. Presently, representations regarding the shifting identities of European port cities illuminate manifold issues, such as migratory fluxes and crisis.
This session aims to look at the representation of the management of these fluxes within the European port city itself, focussing in particular on goods and trade, on visitors, both professionals and migrants, and on narratives in the writing of history. Furthermore, the celebratory stance of orthodox representations has come under significant critical pressure in the last fifty years. Contemporary visual artists have pointed to blind spots in maritime geographies (Allan Seluka, US), histories (Keith Piper, UK) present economic and human issues (the Cargonauts, GR), and ecologies (Tuula Närhinen, FL). An attention to managing structures and actors in port cities must be complemented by a reflection on past and present depiction of un-controlled maritime circulation, and the socio-political implications they have now and then carried in the shaping of urban, national and European identities.
We invite papers looking at specific case studies, that explore specific modes of representation of port city fluxes from the early modern to the present in phenomena such as:
- port architectural infrastructure and the regulation of incoming flows (goods, workers, capital)
- the integration, or rejection, of foreignness and foreigners in harbour cities
- narratives of circulation and the appropriation of extraneous stories (visual, historical)
- under the radar movements in and out of the port city (smuggling, ‘unchartered’ migration...)
Contributions can focus on different representational mediums in the visual arts as well as in analytical and critical writing.
- Spokesperson: Gabriel Gee, Franklin University
- Co-organizer(s): Eliana Sousa Santos, University Institute Lisbon
- Keywords: Port cities | Flux | Representation
- Time period: Contemporary period
- Topic(s): Art | Heritage
- Study area: Europe