Bachelorseminar „Deindustrializing Hoboken“

Heute beginnt das neue Semester, in dem ich estmals an der Universität Antwerpen lehren werde. Das Seminar ist forschungsnah konzipiert und soll Studierende auf dem Weg zu einer Thesis begleiten. Im ersten Semester werden wir dabei regelmäßige Sitzungen haben, in denen wir Texte und Quellen besprechen und mögliche Themen für die Thesis diskutieren. Im zweiten Semester (2022) werde ich die Bachelorarbeiten individuell weiter betreuen.

Mein Bachelorseminar ist Teil meines aktuellen Projekts zur Geschichte der Deindustrialisierung. Entsprechend schließt das Seminar an die Forschungsfragen dieses Projekts an:

Deindustrializing Hoboken. Everyday Life and Community in Transformation, 1970-2000

Like many other industrial towns in Europe, the city (since 1983 district) of Hoboken was deeply affected by deindustialization between the 1960s and the 1990s. With the closure of several plants, most prominently the Cockerill Shipyard in 1982, many people lost their jobs, families were confronted with an uncertain future and the local community had to adjust to an entirely new situation. Simultaneously to the challenge of declining employment opportunities, rising migration, demographic shifts and changing gender roles also had an impact on the neighbourhood. In this seminar we want to reconstruct how these shifts changed everyday life in Hoboken. Instead of telling a story of loss, however, the aim is to analyze how the people coped with the decline of the traditional industrial economy, found ways to compensate for loss and created new forms of economic, social and cultural activities that replaced the once dominant way of life attuned to industrial work.

In particular, the seminar will look into the following developments from the local perspective:

  • New forms of economic activity: Which kinds of jobs replaced industrial employment? How were these jobs obtained and organized? What role did public assistance, (small) entrepreneurship, or informal arrangements play? How important were illicit, or even illegal, economic activities?
  • Changing meanings of consumption: How did consumption relate to declining financial resources? Did strategies of (over-)compensation emerge, in which certain kinds of conspicuous consumption acquired a new cultural value? What role did shopping, displaying status symbols and routines of (self-)representation, in particular those in which people styled their bodies and sexuality, play.
  • Socializing and community: Which was the effect on those forms of social interaction, which shaped the sense of belonging in the neighbourhoods? Did people recede from the public sphere or did new bonds emerge among neighbours? What was the function of public activities, such as celebrations or sport events, in this?
  • Reorganizing civil society: How did local organizations, both formal and informal, such as citizens’ initiatives, political parties, interest groups or religious congregations, address challenges, set the agenda and take action? Which new organizations emerged and how did existing ones take up new issues?
  • The invention of an industrial past: Did the emergence of industrial heritage, preserving abandoned factories and plants as historical landmarks, complement the process of industrial decline? How was the memory of the fading industrial past constructed and how were its remnants turned into tangible and intangible assets in plans for redevelopment?

Finding answers to these questions entails the challenge to first acquire sources, some of which are not readily available, and then to organise the data retrieved from these sources in a meaningful way. In this seminar we will combine a diverse set of sources, including local newspapers, such as the Gazet van Antwerpen, material from social science studies, which were conducted in the 1980s, archival repositories at stadsarchief Antwerpen, such as letters of complaint, and finally sources which we will acquire through cooperation with the local community in Hoboken. This will require some “detective work” but will be rewarded by tapping into sources no-one has ever used. The focus will be on sources which refer to a specific location and offer data for serial analysis, such as recurring newspaper advertisements for a certain type of shop, standardized field notes from social science surveys or membership lists. We will then use GIS to analyse this qualitative data and try to identify spatial and temporal patterns of change. This approach to analysis is based on the assumption that the shifts in everyday life, which we are interested in, aggregated around places and nodes of social life, such as pubs, beauty parlours, sport grounds, employment centres, places of worship or abandoned industrial plants. These places were important either because they were the site of social interaction or because the figured prominently in the mental maps of the local community.

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow am Centre for Urban History in Antwerpen

Seit Anfang Mai 2021 bin ich offiziell als Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow am Centre for Urban History der Universiteit Antwerpen. In den kommen beiden Jahren werde ich nicht nur in, sondern auch über Antwerpen forschen. In meinem Projekt „Mapping Practices under Pressure. The Everyday Experience of Socio-Economic Change in Deindustrialising Cities, 1960-2000“ werde ich mich mit der Alltagsgeschichte der südlichen, industriell geprägten Stadtteile Antwerpens in den letzten 50 Jahren beschäftigen. Das Ziel sind jedoch in erster Linie methodische Innovationen zwischen den Digital Humanities und Citizen Science zu erproben.

Einen ersten Überblick über mein Forschungsvorhaben werde ich am Centre for Urban History am 14.6. geben. Im Rahmen der middagseminarie werde ich das Paper „Experiences of the past. How to reconstruct local histories of deindustrialization“ präsentieren, in dem ich einige theoretische und methodische Grundlagen des Projekts diskutiere.

Quellenessay: Arbeitslosenzeitungen als Quellen zur Geschichte der Deindustrialisierung

Heute habe ich den ersten Beitrag im neuen Blog-Projekt der Gesellschaft für Stadtgeschichte und Urbanisierungsforschung (GSU) gepostet:

Arbeitslosenzeitungen als Quellen zur Geschichte der Deindustrialisierung, in: Stadtgeschichten (8.3.2021), https://stadthist.hypotheses.org/209.

Die Geschichte der Deindustrialisierung, die viele westeuropäische Städte zwischen den 1970er und 1990er Jahren prägte, ist aktuell eines der wichtigsten Themen der zeithistorischen Forschung. Denn Deindustrialisierung bezeichnet einen breiten Strukturwandel, der nicht nur die Wirtschaft betraf, sondern die gesamte Gesellschaft erfasste und den Alltag vieler Menschen veränderte. Auch der Charakter von Städten und Nachbarschaften, ihre Sozialstruktur und ihr Selbstverständnis waren davon betroffen, wenn klassische Industriebetriebe verschwanden und Arbeitsplätze verloren gingen.

Weiterlesen

Workshop: Socio-Spatial Disparities (20.11.2020)

Am Freitag, den 20.11.2020 werde ich auf dem von Christoph Bernhardt und Marjaana Niemi organisierten Workshop „Exploring socio-spatial disparities in Western and socialist cities. Theoretical challenges and empirical insights“ einen Vortrag zu der Erfahrungsdimension sozialer Ungleichheit beitragen: „Disparities as Experience? How to reconstruct and interpret the perception of being left behind“. Darin werde ich vor allem einige konzeptionelle Ideen thesenartig zur Diskussion stellen. Auf jeden Fall freue ich mich sehr auf das virtuelle Wiedersehen mit vielen Kollegi*nnen, die ich sonst auf der EAUH Tagung in Antwerpen getroffen hätte.

Zum Workshopprogramm

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: https://www.uantwerpen.be/en/conferences/eauh2020/papers/

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 (haumann@pg.tu-darmstadt.de).

Archivexkursion Oberhausen

Die Oberhausener Lokalausgabe der Westdeutschen Allgemeinen Zeitung berichtete am 4.7.2019 über die Archivexkursion, die ich mit meinem Seminar „Deindustrialisierung: Strukturwandel und Krisenerfahrung in den 1970er Jahren und 1980er Jahren“ durchgeführt habe. Auf Einladung von Magnus Dellwig, dem Leiter des Oberhausener Stadtarchivs haben wir eine Woche vor Ort in den Beständen recherchiert, um Antworten darauf zu finden, wie der Strukturwandel in einem besonders betroffenen Stadtteil erfahren wurde und welche Veränderungen im Alltag als problematisch wahrgenommen wurden.

Zum Artikel in der WAZ vom 4.7.2019: Studenten forschen im Oberhausener Archiv zum Strukturwandel

Urban History Group Conference 2019

Am 4. und 5. April 2019 findet an der Queen’s University Belfast die diesjährige Tagung der britischen Urban History Group statt. Schwerpunkt der Tagung ist in diesem Jahr: „Voices of the City: People, Identity and Place 1600 to the present“. Zu diesem Thema werde ich einen Vortag zu Deindustrialierung und Arbeitslosigkeit in den 1970er und 1980er Jahren mit dem Titel „Being Unemployed: Deindustrialisation as social experience in the Ruhr, 1973-1990“ halten. Ein Abstract zu meinem Vortrag findet sich im Tagungsprogramm, das jetzt online zur Verfügung steht.

Zum Tagungsprogramm

Rezension: Gerstung, Stapellauf für ein neues Zeitalter

In der aktuellen Ausgabe der zeitschrift Neue Politische Literatur ist meine Rezesnion zu Tobias Gerstungs Buch „Stapellauf für ein neues Zeitalter“ erschienen.

Haumann, Sebastian, Rezension zu: Gerstung, Tobias: Stapellauf für ein neues Zeitalter. Die Industriemetropole Glasgow im revolutionären Wandel nach dem Boom (1960-2000), Göttingen 2016, in: Neue Politische Literatur 63 (2018), S. 329-331.