Session at the European Association for Urban History Conference

The purpose of this session is to explore cities and city spaces through experiences of exile and expatriation (forced or voluntary, external or internal). Papers will explore aspects of the urban public sphere and forms of the built environment that may serve as emotional landscapes of refuge and belonging, as well as displacement and nostalgia.Session content: Urban spaces – and cities – are often experienced as elicitors of emotions by their inhabitants and visitors. Exile and expatriation in particular are forms of movement that offer new perspectives on the study of urban refuge and belonging – or the lack thereof. The experience of exile, which can range from the transient to the permanent, has been historically informed by emotional connections to places and cities left behind. The experience of exile, whether motivated by seeking refuge from political regimes or intellectual oppression, be it forced or voluntary, shapes and is shaped by the experience of living in different places. These conflicted emotions may be constructed in and changed by the urban public sphere and the built environment in a number of ways. Our session seeks to explore the urban dimensions of experiencing and feeling exile and displacement.

The aim of this session is to examine the city and urban spaces through the experience of exile and expatriation. On the one hand, emotional connections to the home city will be explored – if and how these are retained and transformed by a lived experience and specific places in the new cities. On the other hand, the host (or transitory) city as a lived place will be examined – focusing on how memory and emotional landscapes of the home city affect life in, and emotions about, places like the home, the hotel, the coffeehouse, the house of worship, the park, the train station, and so on. Papers will investigate city spaces and sites where emotions take place, and trace connections to the cities left behind by exiles that inspire and evoke these feelings.

  • Spokesperson: Katalin Straner, University of Southampton
  • Co-organizer(s): Joachim Schloer, University of Southampton
  • Keywords: Exile and expatriation | Emotion | Experience
  • Time period: All periods
  • Topic(s): Intellectual | Social
  • Study area: More than one continent