Call for papers for an international conference hosted by
Hilde Greefs (University of Antwerp – Centre of Urban History)
Anne Winter (Vrije Universiteit Brussel – Historical Research Into Urban Transformation Processes)
Place: Antwerp ‐ Date: 28‐29 May 2015
Urban history is to a large degree a history of migration and of dealing with migration. In late medieval and early modern cities migration flows and settlement were often regulated by localinstitutions such as citizenship, guild membership and settlement laws. During the transition from early modern to contemporary society, these local institutions were profoundly transformed as cities became part of modern nation states, where citizenship and membership primarily related to the nation and involved new mechanisms of identification and incorporation.
Economic and social historians have linked this transition to proletarianization andindustrialization, focusing on the impact of economic transformations on push and pull factors of migration, and relating the exclusion and disciplining of immigrants to class struggle. Political historians have in contrast placed the nation state and national identity at the centre of their analysis, often reducing the causes for changes in migration regulation to a monitoring problem. Cultural historians and historians of political thought in turn refer to still other causes, such as enlightenment thinking with its emphasis on natural rights, individualism and popular sovereignty.