CfP: EAUH 2020 Session „Structural Change as Experience“


European Association for Urban History Conference 2020

Antwerp, 2-5 September 2020

Call for Papers for Session M-LAN-4 „Structural Change as Experience. Reconstructing Everyday Life in Deindustrializing Cities“

Deadline: 4 October 2019

Session organizers: Valentina Fava (Czech Academy of Sciences), Roberta Garruccio (Università degli Studi di Milano), Sebastian Haumann (TU Darmstadt)


In the former industrial centers of Europe, deindustrialization was experienced as loss and rupture in everyday life. Even more than economic decline alone, these experiences of structural change might explain the long-lasting anxiety of individuals and communities which is now often exploited by populists. However, we know very little about the everyday experience of deindustrialization and the lasting anxiety it caused to both individuals and communities.

This session invites papers that reconstruct the experience and vernacular interpretations of deindustrialization in European cities from a micro studies-perspective. Our aim is to attract papers studying how individuals perceived and made sense of social and economic transformations and trace forms of cultural uncertainty and polarization. We are also interested in contributions that take on the methodological challenge of evaluating the relation between past experiences and their reinterpretation in current cultural polarization. Considering these aims, papers might address one or more of the following key questions:

  • Chronology of experiences: When did urban communities go through the experience of structural change, especially in regard to the time-lag between West and East Europe? How does the temporal distance to the original experience affect the current perception of one’s own place in the past processes of deindustrialization?
  • Diversity of experiences: did different social groups (workers, migrants, etc.) experience and interpret structural change differently? How did post socialist transformation alter the perceptions of deindustrialization? Did these differences aggravate polarization and feed into the construction of divergent identities that are now often exploited by populists?
  • Locus of experiences: were loss and ruptures in everyday life experienced as an individual, as a family, or as a community? How did the locus of experience translate into new patterns of social relations, such as gender roles, intergenerational relationships or community organization?
  • Judgment of experiences: is it appropriate to vest the history of deindustrialization in narratives of decline? Are histories of everyday life in deindustrializing cities also histories of success and pride of making do under adverse economic and social conditions that should not be left to populist movements to exploit?


Interested paper-givers are asked to upload their proposal to the conference website no later than 4 October 2019:

You will also find a guideline for papers and more information on the programme and the conference venue in Antwerp on the conference website. For questions regarding the session please don’t hesitate to contact Sebastian Haumann (

Neue Publikation: Zwischen „Nachhaltigkeit“ und „Anthropozän“

In der neuen Ausgabe der Zeitschrift Neue Politische Literatur ist mein Rezensionsaufsatz zur aktuellen Forschungslage in der Umweltgeschichte erschienen:

Sebastian Haumann Zwischen „Nachhaltigkeit“ und „Anthropozän“. Neue Tendenzen in der Umweltgeschichte, in: Neue Politische Literatur 64 (2019), 295-326.

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