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Cultural Conquests, 1500-2000
Prague, September 2003


PRAGUE, 11.9. -  14.9. 2003

organised by

The Seminar of Comparative and General History at Charles University in Prague
The European Urban History group at the Universities of Northumbria and Newcastle upon Tyne (UK)

Conquerors of all kinds have made not only political and economic demands
on the defeated, but have repeatedly also attempted to impose new cultures
on them, and such attempts to impose a new cultural order were felt
nowhere more keenly than in the towns and cities where intellectuals,
academics, publicists and other members of the political, social and
cultural elites were required to conform. We are interested in the motives
for the imposition of a new cultural order, the ways in which citizens
resisted or collaborated with the victors or occupying forces, and the
ways in which the direct experience of war or civil conflict and military
occupation were reflected in urban cultures.

The geographical and chronological focus of the conference will be Europe
between c.1500 and the present.

The following are examples of potential themes which papers might address:

Religious Conquests

The forcible conversion of citizens to a new faith or confession in the
wake of religious conflicts, from, say, the christianisation of Europe and
the reconquest of Spain to the forced conversions of imperial Russia.

Revolutionary Order

The attempts to re-invent cultures in the wake of revolution, e.g. the
London of the Commonwealth, urban America in the eighteenth century,
Paris, Petrograd.

Annexation and Nation-Building

The cultural consequences, successful or otherwise of defeat, annexation
and incorporation into a hitherto foreign state, e.g. the Christian cities
of the Balkans in the Ottoman empire, the divergent experiences of (e.g.)
Krakow and Warsaw in eighteenth/nineteenth -century Poland, Strasbourg
between France and Germany. This theme might include papers which examine
the imposition of national standards in language, customs and cultural
tastes, and the competition between national and local/regional in
cultural expression. (E.g. the tension between Catalan and Spanish


Culture and everyday life under a foreign power. Papers might look at
military occupation and its impact on the civilian population; or compare
attempts to annihilate some forms of cultural expression entirely
(including, for example, dialect or local languages) while accommodating
others within a broader 'imperial' conformity such as that of fascist
Europe under the Nazi new order.

Cold-War Cultures

The impact of the indirect cultural hegemony of a superpower on the
development of European cities during the Cold War. Papers might consider
general developments such as the Americanisation of western Europe and
resistance to it, or the attempts to align national cultural traditions in
eastern Europe with the cultural and political assumptions of Soviet

Other suggestions are welcome.

We anticipate that there will be no more than around forty participants at
the colloquium. Papers will be 25 minutes and grouped in sessions to allow
time for discussion. The language of the colloquium will be English.

Please send a short abstract [c.200 words] of your proposal to Dr Tim
Kirk, School of Historical Studies, University of Newcastle, Barras
Bridge, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1, UK: e-mail:

The colloquium will be hosted by the Institute of World History at Charles
University in Prague (Dr Lud'a Klusáková).

Registration Fee (colloquium and refreshments 11,12,13 September): 50
Euros (full), 20 Euros (postgraduates etc).

Accommodation will be available at reasonable cost in University