The Cities and the Wars
22nd IHC Summer Course
Lisbon, 27th – 29th September 2012
Organization: Instituto de História Contemporânea – FCSH/UNL (Institute of Contemporary History/ Faculty of Social and Human Science-New University of Lisbon and Câmara Municipal de Lisboa (Lisbon Municipality)
Scientific Coordination: Maria Fernanda Rollo (IHC-FCSH-UNL) and Ana Paula Pires (IHC-FCSH-UNL)
Program and registration: http://ascidadeseasguerras.encontroihc.pt
Throughout history, cities have suffered in many ways the effects of war, often as a part of war scenarios. Although not always being the scene of strife’s, cities suffered many reflections that a war situation inevitably entails.
Cities, by their nature, are themselves spaces where, in fact, wars are felt and expressed in diverse and specific ways. Either way, war, in a certain scale, affects every aspect of the populations’ life, through a more or less intensive mobilization of their human resources and materials for external and internal fronts of combat and survival. Its effects are therefore observable at all levels and aspects of life in cities, in different scales and depths depending on the conflict’s nature, and its reflections tend to last beyond the end of armed clashes.
The city as a whole is therefore so inextricably involved, from the outset of its administration level, faced with the imperative to adapt the management of the city to disruptions caused by the war, forced to find schemes and impose more or less developed economic warfare measures. Whether there are more or less complex and violent scenarios of destruction and death, war affects all aspects of everyday urban life. First of all, the effects of the changing of supply conditions and all the disturbances at a level of supplies are a cause of difficulties for urban populations, raising changes of the economic and social agents’ behaviour, and of prices and supplies regulation mechanisms, even involving the use of less legitimate forms of access to certain essential or scarce goods; these changes naturally result, especially when they exceed certain levels, on the degradation of the populations’ living conditions, often massacred and victims of the consequences of general scarcity or of the inability to purchase essential goods, being trapped between the phenomena of hunger and the deplorable and inhumane conditions, in scenarios where degradation of sanitary conditions and diseases and epidemics are easily installed, demanding a response of local authorities. After the war, the return to peace raises new and complex challenges for the cities. Between the aim of reconstruction – where difficulties so often persist, particularly in terms of supply - and the need to conclude the mechanisms and instruments built during the war, as well as the correction of multiple disorders, the cities and the urban populations try to find ways and solutions to return to peace.
It is concerning these various profound consequences and experiences lived in urban spaces during warfare times that we intend to reflect on the Summer Course The Cities and the Wars; seeking to contribute to a deeper knowledge and understanding of the impacts and changes operated by wars in the cities.
The Course will bring together different approaches, benefiting of the contribution of various disciplines, as well as of the participation of several national and international experts.
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