The conference aims to shed light on the ambivalent status of cities and towns as both centres for peace initiatives and protest movements as well as objects of militarisation, as potential or actual sites of wartime destruction, and as targets of nuclear attacks.

Throughout the 20th century, the propensity for urban life to be attacked, destroyed, or annihilated in acts of organized violence has encouraged manifold initiatives seeking to prevent urban destruction and fostered campaigning for nonviolence, disarmament, and peace from an urban point of view. Amid such endeavours, the particular histories, spatial peculiarities, material characteristics, and myriad human populations of cities and towns provide settings and objects of reflection, and they become sources for negotiations concerning peace, reconciliation, and nonviolence in people’s everyday lives.

The conference will investigate the dynamic between urban space and initiatives for peace and disarmament that has emerged in Europe and Israel. It will explore how towns and cities have assumed the role of a counterforce against tendencies towards militarisation, destruction, and violence, thereby aiming to widen and enlarge our perspective on creating peace in relation to urban life and urban space.

Attendance is free, but registration required until 15th September 2017 (akhf[at]


Wednesday, 27/09/2017

18:00–18:15 Welcome

  • Christoph Becker-Schaum (AGG); Susanne Schregel/Claudia Kemper/Daniel Gerster (AKHF)

18:15–19:45 Keynote

  • Dorothee Brantz (Berlin), Peace and Urban Space: Berlin in the 20th Century
  • Moderator: Daniel Gerster

Thursday, 28/09/2017

9:00–9:30  Introduction 

  • Susanne Schregel, Claudia Kemper, Daniel Gerster

9:30–11.00Peace Cities - Cities of Peace

  • Chair: Christian Jansen (Trier)
  • Julia Eichenberg (Berlin), Planning Peace in the Blitz – European Governments-in-exile in London, 1940–1945
  • Zlatko Jovanovic (Copenhagen), Inventing ‘Peace’ Tradition in the War-Torn Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Case of Tuzla Citizens Forum (Forum gradjana Tuzla)

11:30–13:00Grassroots Urban Peace Activism and Its Local/Global Interconnections

  • Chair: Christoph Becker-Schaum (Berlin)
  • Jared Donnelly (Montgomery, AL), Protest City? Grassroots Peace Activism and Urban Politics in Hamburg, 1955–1961Richard Rohrmoser (Mannheim), “Grassroots Security Policy” – Nonviolent Protests Against Nuclear Forces in Mutlangen, 1983–1987 

14:00–15.30Informal Spaces and Sociability

  • Chair: Daniel Gerster (Münster)
  • Nadja Maurer (Hamburg), Spaces of Love. Transgressions of Communal Division in Conflict and Peace in Belfast
  • Merav Kaddar (Jerusalem), Heterotopic Appearances in Changing Urban Environment: the Case of the Anna Loulou Bar in Jaffa, Israel

16:00–17.30Peace and Disarmament in Official City Policies

  • Chair: Jost Dülffer (Cologne)\
  • Nikita Chiu (Cambridge), Cities as Actor in Global Nuclear Governance: A Chronology and Assessment of Cities’ Engagement in Global Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Efforts
  • Christoph Laucht (Swansea), The Politics behind Urban Peace and Disarmament Initiatives: The Municipal Left and the Nuclear Threat in Britain, 1980–1985

17.45–18.30 Interdisciplinary Perspectives I: Global Intimacies of Sanctuary: Challenging a Statist Geopolitics 

  • Jen Bagelman (Exeter)
  • Moderator: Susanne Schregel (Cologne)

Friday, 29/09/2017

9:00–9:45Interdisciplinary Perspectives II: Peace Building and Spatial Transformation

  • Stefanie Kappler (Durham)
  • Moderator: Claudia Kemper (Hamburg)

9:45–11:15 Peace and the Symbolism of Urban Geographies

  • Chair: Anne Bieschke (Mannheim)
    Irina Gordeeva (Moscow), Symbolic Resistance in the History of the Soviet Independent Peace Movement, Moscow, 1982–1989
  • Noah Hysler Rubin (Ann Arbor, MA), Bridging through Planning: Urban Strategies for the Peaceful Unification of Jerusalem, 1948–1968

11:30–13:00 Urban Places for Peace

  • Chair: Christine Krüger (Gießen)
  • Nicolas Pitsos (Paris), From Great War’s Memorial to the House of Peace: Pacifist Initiatives in Saint-Ouen
  • Peter van den Dungen (Bradford), Visualizing and Promoting Peace through Peace Museums

13:00–13:30Concluding Discussion

Moderator: Claudia Kemper