Call for Papers: Science in the City

Main session call for papers proposal (M35) – European Association for Urban History (Prague, August 29-September 2012)

All paper proposals should be submitted electronically via the online paper proposal form. If you cannot submit your proposal via the Web site, please e-mail your abstract to the Conference secretariat at [email protected]

Web submission is strongly encouraged. Regardless the method of submission, all paper proposals must be received by October 1, 2011.

Keywords: science space city institutions
Author: Darina Martykánová (Universität Potsdam) – [email protected]
Co-authors: Meltem Akbas (Istanbul University)
Section: Main session
Period: Modern/Contemporary

Examining the ways scientific knowledge shaped the city has represented a widely popular topic of research for the last few decades. In this session, we propose to look on the issue the other way round: analyzing how the scientific institutions and science production were shaped by the urban space they settled in. As Dierig, Lachmund and Mendelsohn have shown in their remarkable volume Science and the City (Osiris, 2003), the relation between science and urban space has been complex and multilayered, rather than simply uni-directional. Therefore, our session is open to discuss a wide range of issues. Its overall aim is to examine the way the presence of science – scientific education, research, experiments, spectacles of science, museums and exhibitions, products of scientific research, etc. – in the urban space was negotiated throughout the times. We welcome studies on the changes in the architecture of the buildings that accommodated scientific institutions, and in their location, that will permit us to analyze the changing visibility of scientific production and education in the urban space. Thus, for example, we welcome papers on the scientific, economic and political and cultural factors of having universities and research institutions in the city center or removing them away from it, either to the suburbs or to the countryside. Closely connected is the issue of the expectations and concerns created by the presence of particular scientific institution, activity or product – research laboratory, electricity- perceived as threatening and dangerous or, on the contrary, as beneficial to the development of the neighbourhood/city and the well-being of its inhabitants, or a sign of prestige and civilization. In this sense, papers dwelling on the science as a sign of civilization, science as a spectacle for urban people, science as a danger or science as a touristic attraction, etc., are highly appreciated. The papers may deal with any geographical and cultural context during the period ranging from 17th to 20th century, creating a ground for a meaningful comparative analysis. Papers that approach the issue from a comparative or transnational perspective are particularly welcome.