Author: urbrel

Researching Fictional Entanglements of Religion and a Dystopian Urban Imagination

— Daria Pezzoli-Olgiati A press photograph portrays a woman wearing an old-fashioned white bonnet and a red mantle, her mouth covered by a cloth of the same colour. Her clothing is a reference to the popular dystopian narrative by Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale (1985) that has become a global…

“Thrill” and Intimidation by Means of Light and Darkness in the Pre-Modern Era – The Alter Einlass (Old Entrance) in Augsburg

— Vera Henkelmann The city was a space that could be experienced and distinguished through the senses: tactile, olfactory, acoustic and also visual; it was recognised as an urban space with all the senses as soon as one approached it, but above all when one entered it.[1] Access to the…

City of Words

— Supriya Chaudhuri Salman Rushdie. Victory City. Penguin Random House, 2023. Pp. 338. Rs. 699 In February last year I was in Hampi, Karnataka, once the sacral core of the city of Vijayanagara, capital of India’s last great Hindu empire. Sitting in the shadow of the Virupaksha temple, I read…

Reclaiming Karbala: Nation, Islam and Literature of the Bengali Muslims (Routledge, 2023)

The struggle of Muslims in Bengal to create an identity-based (jātīẏa) literature is generally lost in the nationalist historiography of the nineteenth and twentieth century India. In the existing studies, the creation of the Bengali Muslim public sphere is always fused into the dynamics of nation-making and the narrative of…

Woad and Indigo: A Story of Two cities, Two Continents and Decolonisation

— Shail Mayaram Having lived with indigo for some four decades in India, I delighted in Erfurt’s own blue colour, called woad. Woad is a very distinct blue, as in the napkin that graced my table of my IBZ (the University’s International Guest House) flat, a Christmas gift from my…

Subjective and Objective Urbanity?

— Mariia Orobinska The following approaches the concept of urbanity from the angle of paradigmatic analysis in linguistics. It establishes the relationship between subjective and objective aspects of urbanity, which is viewed as a unique feature of a given place and characterized through “charm”, “atmosphere”, and “aesthetics”. A comparative analysis…

The Waqf: Where Religion Meets Urbanity

— Elyse Semerdjian Historians have long studied the institution of pious endowments(waqf, pl. awqaf) as an impactful instrument of urban development in Islamic cities. In the case of the Ottoman Empire, it is estimated that more than 35,000 endowments were established in the imperial capitol (Isin 2011, 222-223). More endowments…

From a letter to an oppressive symbol – notes on >Z

— Claudine Moulin This is the English translation and revised text of an essay published in German in the Journal Aptum. Zeitschrift für Sprachkritik (H2/3 2023, Themenheft: Krieg in der Ukraine. Essayistische Notizen zum Diskurs, 201-209 [printed 1/2024]; DOI: 10.46771/9783967693843_12). The English version was written and discussed with colleagues during…

Hanafi Law and Urbanization in Mughal India

— Naveen Kanalu (EHESS Paris) Hanafi law, one of the four Sunni schools of jurisprudence, which was widely practiced in the Ottoman Empire, was also the imperial legal system of the Mughal Empire (1526-1857) in South Asia. Hanafi law governed property rights of Muslims and non-Muslims alike in the rural…

Emotional Urban Apes – A Different Take on Religion and Urbanity

—-Anders Klostergaard Petersen At the core of the research group Religion and Urbanity at the Max Weber Centre in Erfurt lies a keen interest in the ascription of value to different life forms relating to city and civic life, that is urbanity. Yet such valorisations do not necessarily presuppose one’s…

Workshop Report: Towards a new history of Calicut

—Fathima Thesni The PG & Research Department of History at Farook College (Autonomous) in Calicut, in collaboration with the Centre for Advanced Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences ‘Religion and Urbanity’, based at the Max Weber Centre in Erfurt (Germany), organized an international book project workshop titled ‘Towards a New…

Urban Ambivalences

—Susanne Rau From 15-17 November 2023, the „Religion and Urbanity“ group held its annual conference on “Ambivalences of Religion“ at the Max Weber Centre in Erfurt. After a welcome by the organisers Elisa Iori and Jörg Rüpke, the programme started with the following opening comments by the spokesperson of the…

Going West: Migrating Personae and Construction of the Self in Rabbinic Culture

— Reuven Kiperwasser I will begin by explaining the title of my book. The title of this book, Going West, was inspired by the Aramaic term used by Babylonian sages for the Land of Israel, ma’arava (west). From the perspective of Babylonia, the Land of Israel is in the West.…

Water as a symbol of Jewish birth – The Mikvah in Erfurt

— Sophie Felgentreu, Nicolaus Zerlaut-Anders This blog post was researched and written by students participating in the 2023 lecture series “Global Exchanges – Trade, Knowledge, and Religion“. The lecture series was organised by Elisa Iori and Mateusz Fafinski of the UrbRel group. What is a Mikvah ? The mikvah is…

Christmas carols

— Jörg Rüpke Sometimes it is the absence that makes the obvious visible. On 4 December 2023, the music stopped at some German Christmas markets, including Erfurt. The reason for this was the protest against the high licence fees for the public – and undoubtedly sales-promoting – playing of music…

Religious Ambivalences: Podcasts I

From 15-17 November 2023, the annual “Religion and Urbanity” conference took place in Erfurt, focusing this time on religious ambivalences, especially with regard to historical instances of “doing religion” in urban contexts. While the individual papers will be published in full in the future, we are happy to share recordings…
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