PANEL SEARCH European Society for Environmental History Conference 20.-24.8.2013. Munich, Germany. Deadline: End August 2012

European Society for Environmental History (ESEH) Conference
20-24 August 2013
Munich, Germany

For the ESEH conference in Munich, August 2013, we are organizing a session on rediscovering and re-surfacing urban waters.

Hiding urban waters from view and sensual perception was a constitutive element of the ‘hygienization’ of the city. Only recently this process, which produced the “dry” city of the late 19th and 20th century, has started to be reversed: many cities are beginning to rediscover their watery past and underground. In search of what urbanites might deem ‘nature’, long forgotten streams have been brought back to light, rivers and river banks have become water sports resorts and recreational areas, urban ponds are made fishing grounds and playing spaces again.

The session aims to ask for reasons, motives and manifestations of this process. We posit as our working hypothesis, that it was also the growth of environmental awareness of recent years which contributed to this re-discovery. We invite papers addressing recent changes (post 1970) in the relationship between cities and their water resources, preferably in a comparative perspective. We are particularly interested in papers studying the bringing back to light of urban water-courses and putting them in what is claimed a ‘natural’ condition. Papers should investigate local debates about the opening-up of former water-courses, changes in the actual state of urban waters as well as in their perceptions and be structured by a historical perspective.

Anyone interested in participating should contact Dieter Schott ( ) or Michael Toyka-Seid ( ) before the end of August 2012.

Prof. Dieter Schott
Professor for Modern History and Urban Environmental History
History Department
TU Darmstadt