The Challenges of Living Closely Together – Cross Cultural Perspectives



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Tobias Helms JGU, Mainz, Germany
Paul P. Pasieka JGU, Mainz, Germany
Sergio Amor Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina
Jan Bemmann Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn, Germany
Sana Benbelli University Hassan II. Casablanca, Morocco
Christof Berns Universität Hamburg, Germany
Marion Bolder-Boos KU Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, Germany
Mariachiara Franceschini Universität Freiburg, Germany
Detlef Gronenborn RGZM, Mainz, Germany
Sabine Huy Universität Hamburg, Germany
Stephan Jolie JGU, Mainz, Germany
Heidi Köpp-Jung Polish Academy of Sciences Warsaw, Poland
Johannes Lipps JGU, Mainz, Germany
Augusta McMahon University of Cambridge, UK
Doris Mischka FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg
Carsten Mischka FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg
Alejandro Mizzoni Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina
Alexander Pruß JGU, Mainz, Germany
Tania Marcela Puente Garcia Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina
Rubina Raja Aarhus University, Denmark
Susanne Reichert Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn, Germany
Jenny Schlehofer Niedersächsisches Landesmuseum Hannover, Germany
Nicolas Thibaud EHESS, Paris, France
Christine Walde JGU, Mainz, Germany
Abdallah Zouhairi University Hassan II. Casablanca, Mainz


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The Challenges Of Living Closely Together - Cross Cultural Perspectives

November 12th - 13th, 2021, Mainz

The establishment of permanent settlements opened the way to a rapidly increasing population density, humans (and animals) lived ever closely together; in addition to new possibilities new and multifold challenges arose from these altered configurations. Especially where smaller settlements developed into larger population centers, the possibility of communities to organize themselves along the lines of face-to-face interactions waned, while reciprocal dependencies increased.

While there are many different factors that incentivized people to move into larger settlements throughout the ages, the challenges of living closely together are manifold. They are ranging from a radically altered relationship to the environment, poor sanitary conditions and higher levels of social stress caused by crowding, to organizational challenges such as the logistics of sustaining larger populations, the negotiation of decision-making processes, as well as the experience of internal conflicts and dissent, to name just a few.

In preparation of our workshop, we will invite scholars of pre- and early modern settlements to discuss a particular set of predefined challenges, which will be provided in our upcoming call for papers. Our list aims to facilitate a cross-cultural perspective by offering a simple, yet robust tool to compare urban settlements and other densely populated sites across different periods and geographic regions (without being bogged down by the discussion of defining a city). For their individual contribution, we will ask each invited speaker to either focus on one particular settlement (respectively a group or cluster of settlements) from their field of research or a specific challenge from our list. Considering that our present is marked by an unprecedented degree of urbanization, our workshop aims to integrate a perspective on the challenges posed by the urban experience of the 21st century – the “century of cities” – and how they relate to the range of experience from our global past.



Scientific Organizers:

Dr. Tobias Helms


Paul Pasieka M.A.


Event Manager: Kumi-Raine Kost


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