Call for Papers: Defense(less) city, RHA Revista de Historia da Arte.

The city is, by definition, alterity, difference. It is the human accomplishment par excellence, standing out from nature, isolating itself from it. The presumption of defense is inherent to the very idea of the urban. The rite of the city’s birth implies first tracing its symbolic defense precincts, followed by the effective building of its walls. In the Middle Ages, the very definition of a city requires a wall. But it is in Early Modernity that speculation about the city’s defenses reaches its zenith. Defenses are theorized in treatises and tested in fortifications. Throughout the Early Modern period, war becomes an exercise of extreme defense, of siege resistance. Until the time comes for the absolute inoperability of any kind of city walls. The Contemporary city stands literally fuori mura. And yet, cosmopolitan urbanity, supposedly open, is also potentially closed.

By discussing the city and its defenses, we aim to foster different approaches taking into account both the intrinsic complementarity and the latent tension between city and fortification. Our intention is to encourage different perspectives capable of drawing attention to the city en garde, with or (as the case may be) against its own fortification. We are looking for methodologies reflecting this subject’s intrinsic interdisciplinarity, going beyond formalistic or monographic analyses. Comparative studies and new approaches to the fortification chronological cycles are welcome, as are those considering the relationships between the imagery of urban fragility and strength in its various expressions.

The full call for papers can be accessed here.

Proposals are welcome until 30th April 2017.
Please sent proposal to defenselesscity@gmail.com, including title, abstract of no more than 500 words and 4
keywords, together with the author’s name, contact and short cv.
Successful proposals will be notified by 31st May 2018.

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