Jutustatud linnad – Narrated Towns – pассказанные города
A conference in the possibilities of (historic) urban studies on 18–20 September 2014, Narva College of the University of Tartu, Estonia.
Various scientific disciplines are involved in urban studies and in one way or another, they try to describe and explain present or past processes and phenomena. Modern urban studies often treat the town as a holistic organism and try to understand the constantly changing present day with the help of several sociological or anthropological methods.
One of the viewpoints of urban studies projects from the past to the present, at the same time explaining why the city developed into what is appears to its contemporaries. Such a viewpoint is especially important in the case of the cities where space, appearance and inhabitants have changed repeatedly in the course of time and where it is not possible to talk about peaceful and consistent development, but instead about frequently altered identities. To find a new identity, such towns must constantly re-narrate themselves.
Narva is exactly such a town where the unsteady past changes like the patterns of a kaleidoscope. A small medieval border town became the region’s most important East-West merchandising centre in the 16th and 17th century; after that it faded into a secondary province town for almost a hundred years. The construction of Kreenholm,thone of largest textile factories in the Russian Empire, near the town in the middle of the 19 century turned Narva into an intensively growing industrial town, the traces of which can be tracked still today. As a historic border town, Narva has repeatedly suffered in wars and it has been repeatedly rebuilt from ruins; the town’s inhabitants and the language spoken have changed.
The 6th international conference held in September 2014 by the Narva College of the University of Tartu concentrates on the methodological possibilities of how to study towns with “difficult” or controversial history. The conference discusses towns whose history includes or included contrasts and potential conflicts between the historic approaches and the identities of its inhabitants. Special focus is on border towns.
The case-study of the conference is Narva, the history of which offers many opportunities to tell the town’s tale from different perspectives and to apply the methods of other disciplines besides history: anthropology, linguistic and literature studies, etc. It is also noteworthy that despite the diversity of story-telling techniques, there are still no general approaches to Narva’s history.
However, the conference is not limited only to studies of Narva — studies about other historic (border) towns with similar research problems are also welcome.
We are waiting for presentations on the following topics:
- The history and identity of Narva
- The possibilities of studying urban history
- Urban biography
- Urban anthropology
- Studies in urban cultural and identity
Please submit the themes of papers with a short abstract (up to 300 words) by 31 March 2014 to Kaarel Vanamölder, associate professor of Estonian history (e-mail: kaarel.vanamolder [ät] ut.ee).
The presentation should be 20 minutes long. The languages of the conference will be English and Russian.
The conference presentations will be published in Narva College’s scientific journal „Studia humaniora et paedagogica collegii Narovensis“.
Participation in the conference is free of charge.
Narva College of the University of Tartu Associate professor of Estonian history Raekoja plats 2
kaarel.vanamolder [ät] ut.ee +37256906082