Religious Guides to Urbanity : Regulating religion and urbanity

Organisers: Martin Christ, Emiliano Urciuoli
21.-22. January 2021, Erfurt

This international workshop focused on the regulation of urban life through orders, ordinances, instructions and other forms of written authoritative communication that are spurred by religious motivations, betray religious concerns, or target religious behaviors and misbehaviors. It took a broad chronological and cross-cultural view in order to compare urban productions as diverse as anti-idolatrous regulations authored by late antique Christian and Jewish religious specialists, instructions like the Muslim hisba, council orders of early modern European towns (Polizeyordnungen), and other textualised strategies to promote and/or impose a ‘safe urban life’.

Bearing in mind the concept of urban religion – which considers the spatially informed dialectic of co-production of urban life and religious communication – the focus of the workshop was twofold. On the one hand, it addressed the regulation of religious life and the ways in which religious texts aim to shape the urban conditions of living. On the other hand it looked at how urban spaces, actors, and ideals of urbanity generate more or less binding projects of religious normativity.

The workshop took a source-based approach and a close look at individual sources and their interpretation to enable meaningful comparisons across cultures past and presents.

Martin Christ, Emiliano Urciuoli