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The November 2015 Paris attacks
Topic of the conference

The siege of Constantinople, 1453.
The Lisbon earthquake, 1755.
The Great Fire of London, 1666.
The siege of Buda, 1686


Celebrating the 180 years of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (1837-2017), its School of Philosophy, the Department of History & Archaeology, in cooperation with European Public Law Organization (EPLO), is holding an international conference with the theme “European Cities in crisis: from the 12th century to the present” on February 2-3, 2017.

Current uses of the concept of “crisis” mark a breach primarily with the notion of historical evolution, as established since the 18th century, when the concept of crisis added insecurity and uncertainty to the perspective of historical development.

Today, “crisis” seems to have established itself as a “natural condition”, a normativity imbued with the multiplication of uncertainties. In this guise, it emerges as the primal historical condition of mankind. This dramatic shift points to a profound transformation of our relationship to historical time, a relationship primarily characterized by uncertainty related to the future.

A series of interconnected issues arise as possible points of discussion:

In which ways has modern historiography approached the question of urban communities in crisis?
How is “crisis” being conceptualized in relation to the urban milieu?
Ultimately, what is the meaning/or meanings of “crisis” in urban history?
In what forms “crises” manifest themselves and how do they affect urban space and the place of cities/towns in broader hierarchic systems?
To what extent, the shape, the nature and the intensity of crises are differentiated in accordance to the size, the legal-political regime, broadly speaking, the character of urban communities?
What processes or events are accounted as “crises” by members of urban communities, or by various socio-professional groups in cities and towns?
What are the effects of international crises on the nature and the function of urban communities and, inversely, in what ways can a city in crisis ignite multiple crises of a much grander scale and effect?

Papers focus on specific cities – or groups of cities and towns – as fields of social/political unrest, epidemics, natural disasters, war (e.g.  cities under siege); the concept of “urban decay”, directly linked to the problematics of “crisis”, will also serve as a point of discussion.

The symposium focuses on cities and towns in Western, Central and Eastern Europe, roughly from the 12th to the 20th century; it promotes an interdisciplinany approach, bringing together history, anthropology, sociology, politics and legal sciences.

Scientific Committee:
Maria Dourou-Eliopoulou (Chairman), Costas Gaganakis, Νikoletta Giantsi, Kostas Raptis, Maria Papathanasiou.
Secretariat: Ariadne Kopidaki, Alessia Fiumi, Dimitris Varos,
Justino de Chavez, Sergios Moschonas, Philippos Boukis,
Athena Spanidou, Michalis Christodoulou

© EPLO 2017